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The WIYN Observatory, a joint venture between the University of Wisconsin (W), Indiana University (I), Yale University (Y), and the National Optical Astronomy Observatories (N), is a new technology alt-az 3.5m telescope located on Kitt Peak. Science operations are scheduled to begin during July 1995.
WIYN has achieved site-limited delivered image quality (DIQ) through a combination of careful site selection, enclosure thermal control, and active optics techniques. The Observatory site was selected based on previous empirical observations of sub-arcsecond images. Heat from the enclosure is vented actively and passively: with 2 m/s winds, the observing chamber volume is exchanged roughly once per minute. The temperature and shape of the lightweight primary mirror, spun-cast by the Steward Observatory Mirror Lab, are maintained by control systems developed by NOAO. These systems maintain the mirror temperature within 0.2 deg C of ambient and the total delivered wavefront error within 150 nm RMS of the ideal. The measured WIYN median DIQ was 0.7'' FWHM for the period June 1994 through January 1995.
The main facility instruments, the Multi-Object Spectrograph (MOS/Hydra) and the WIYN Imager, are currently being commissioned simultaneously at the two Nasymth foci. A f/6.3, 1 deg corrected beam is presented to MOS/Hydra while the beam presented to the Imager is corrected over 0.5 deg.
The WIYN control system is based on a distributed network of real-time and time-sharing processors linked together by a low-bandwidth asynchronous message passing system. This architecture is robust, easily expandable, and amenable to remote operations. The baseline system was designed and implemented by the University of Wisconsin Controls Group.
Current telescope performance and commissioning progress will be presented at the Meeting.
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