Monday, August 17, 2009

Telescope construction, part 2 (Discovery Channel Telescope)

The Discovery Channel Telescope, under construction.
Image from Lowell Observatory, Flagstaff, AZ.
More info about the DCT from Lowell -->

So, Dan is helping to build a new telescope. And he took us to go see it yesterday.

I love science. I built a website on the history of early cosmology for the American Institute of Physics a while back and so learning about Dan's work has been extremely captivating. But never having been to a telescope before, I had no idea what all that big stuff* was.
*Big stuff: [n] complex big things outside even bigger buildings consisting of large humming shapes, ductwork, wires and gnarled cabling.
my beloved friend Stephanie, who inquired of our building engineer, "What's all that big stuff??" while pointing to our work's HVAC system. Or basically anything that looks like it belongs in a big laboratory with a hunchback laboring over it.)
So, here's some big stuff for you. (NO, not your genitals -- you'll have to rely on your email for those opportunities. Sorry.)

Telescope BEFORE the dome panels
were added. (June 7, 2009)
Sunday August 16, 2009 (yesterday).

Doesn't it look like someone's house? You'd almost not know that a big 4-meter diameter telescope will be living here one day.

So, a telescope kinda looks like this inside:

These are pictures inside the dome before the telescope is added.

Steve, taking a picture of the scaffolding and other big stuff.

Dan cranks open a side door.

Dan, explaining an architectural drawing of the interior.

Mirror-coating chamber.

The mirror-coating chamber is in the accessory building, a huge secondary lab where people will work on instrumentation and where the mirror will be coated with aluminum and made shiny.

Right now, the mirror's in Tucson. Eventually some nervously sweating trucker is going to have to carefully load and haul an enormous and very fragile 14 foot convex piece of glass five hours up the interstate to this room, where it will be aluminized and lifted into its rightful place as a telescope reflector.

The neat thing about this telescope is that it will be the largest in the continental U.S. and one of the largest in the world (listed in the Wikipedia in the list of telescopes under construction).

--> See my first blog post of the telescope's construction (June 7, 2009).

AND! For a fantastic write-up of the technical information (with humor), see Steve's blog post and photos about the telescope -->


Soda and Candy said...

That is super impressive!!!

geekhiker said...

Man, I wish I did that for a career. I mean, c'mon, "I build telescopes" is an AWESOME pick-up line! ;)

Storage Containers said...

Thank you for your great article on this is very important subject.Very informative and easy read.It is awesome.Very happy this is getting done. It's ahumanitarian victory, of sorts.Hope so i will get the further updates in future.

Storage Containers,

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