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The Large Binocular Telescope (LBT) Project has evolved from concepts first proposed in 1985. The present partners involved in the design and construction of this 2 x 8.4 meter binocular telescope are the University of Arizona, Italy represented by the Osservatorio Astrofisico di Arcetri and the Research Corporation based in Tucson. These three partners have committed sufficient funds to build the enclosure and the telescope populated with a single 8.4 meter optical train --- approximately 40 million dollars (1989). Based on this commitment, design and construction activities are now moving forward. Additional partners are being sought. The next mirror to be cast at the Steward Observatory Mirror Lab in spring of 1996 will be the first borosilicate honeycomb primary for LBT. The baseline optical configuration of LBT includes wide field Cassegrain secondaries with optical foci above the primaries to provide a corrected one degree field at F/4. The infrared F/15 secondaries are a Gregorian design to allow maximum flexibility for adaptive optics. The F/15 secondaries are undersized to provide a low thermal background focal plane which is unvignetted over a 4 arcminute diameter field-of-view. The interferometric focus combining the light from the two 8.4 meter primaries will reimage two folded Gregorian focal planes to a central location. The telescope elevation structure accommodates swing arms which allow rapid interchange of the various secondary and tertiary mirrors. Maximum stiffness and minimal thermal disturbance continue to be important drivers for the detailed design of the telescope. The telescope structure accommodates installation of a vacuum bell jar for aluminizing the primary mirrors in-situ on the telescope. The detailed design of the telescope structure will be completed in 1995 by ADS Italia (Lecco) and European Industrial Engineering (Mestre). The final enclosure design is now in progress at M3 Engineering (Tucson) and ADS Italia. Construction activities on the Emerald Peak (Mt. Graham) site should begin in the spring of 1995.
8:30a program listing