The Hobby-Eberly telescope: Commissioning experience and observing plans

John W. Glaspey, Mark T. Adams, John A. Booth, Mark E. Cornell, James R. Fowler, Victor L. Krabbendam, Lawrence W. Ramsey, Frank B. Ray, Randall L. Ricklefs, William J. Spiesman

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Experience in bringing into operation the 91-segment primary mirror alignment and control system, the focal plane tracker system, and other critical subsystems of the HET will be described. Particular attention is given to the tracker, which utilizes three linear and three rotational degrees of freedom to follow sidereal targets. Coarse time-dependent functions for each axis are downloaded to autonomous PMAC controllers that provide the precise motion drives to the two linear stages and the hexapod system. Experience gained in aligning the sperate mirrors and then maintaining image quality in a variable thermal environments will also be described. Because of the fixed elevation of the primary optical axis, only a limited amount of time is available for observing objects in the 12 degrees wide observing band. With a small core HET team working with McDonald Observatory staff, efficient, reliable, uncomplicated methodologies are required in all aspects of the observing operations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)50-54
Number of pages5
JournalProceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering
StatePublished - 1998

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Applied Mathematics
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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