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Session 2 - Everything Else.
Display session, Friday, June 27
Ballroom C, Chair: Richard Canfield

[2.30] Telescope Mirror Contamination and Airborne Dust

J. R. Varsik (National Solar Observatory), W. Siegmund (University of Washington), D. H. Berger (Colgate University)

Airborne particulate matter (dust) is a major contaminant of telescope optics. In support of an initiative to study a large reflecting coronagraph, a project to monitor airborne dust and its deposition on mirror surfaces has begun. High airborne dust concentrations at Sacramento Peak are episodic in nature; each episode lasting several hours. Occurrence of dust episodes is determined by local climatic conditions. During these episodes, the concentration of larger particles increases disproportionately. Surface dust measurements indicate that the particles that contribute most to the scattering of light from optical surfaces are larger than those that dominate scattering in the air. Comparisons of surface particle densities measured from sample slides and the airborne dust counts suggest criteria for operation of telescopes in the Sacramento Peak area.

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