The Hobby-Eberly Telescope: Performance upgrades, status, and plans

John A. Booth, Mark T. Adams, Edwin S. Barker, Frank N. Bash, James R. Fowler, John M. Good, Gary J. Hill, Phillip W. Kelton, David L. Lambert, Phillip J. MacQueen, Povilas Palunas, Lawrence William Ramsey, Gordon L. Wesley

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


The Hobby-Eberly Telescope (HET) is a fixed-elevation, 9.2-m telescope with a spherical primary mirror and a tracker at prime focus to follow astronomical objects. The telescope was constructed for $13.9M over the period 1994-1997. A series of extensive engineering upgrades and corrective actions have been completed recently, resulting in significantly improved delivered image quality and increased operational efficiency. The telescope's Spherical Aberration Corrector (SAC) optics were recoated with a highly reflective and durable broadband coating at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. The software mount model that maintains optical alignment of the SAC with the 11-m primary mirror array was recalibrated and improved. The acquisition and guiding optics for both the High Resolution Spectrograph (HRS) and the Low Resolution Spectrograph (LRS) were reworked and improved, allowing for better focus and SAC alignment monitoring and control. Recoating of the primary mirror segment array was begun. Telescope images of 0.82 arcseconds have been recorded for sustained periods in preliminary testing following the engineering upgrade, an improvement of 50% over previous best performance. Additional engineering upgrades are scheduled to consolidate these performance gains and to continue improving delivered image quality, throughput, and telescope operational efficiency. The HET is now capable of the science performance for which it was designed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)288-299
Number of pages12
JournalProceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering
Issue numberPART 1
StatePublished - Dec 24 2004
EventGround-based Telescopes - Glasgow, United Kingdom
Duration: Jun 21 2004Jun 25 2004

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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