AAS Meeting #193 - Austin, Texas, January 1999
Session 11. Observatories, Telescopes and Instruments
Display, Wednesday, January 6, 1999, 9:20am-6:30pm, Exhibit Hall 1

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[11.04] Daytime Polar Alignment of Telescope Mountings Using GPS and Internal Reference Optics

R. R. Mellon, D. Scheld (Equinox Interscience Inc.), R. E. Stencel (Univ. Denver Observatories)

A technique is presented for performing polar alignment of astronomical telescope mountings to high precision during daylight hours. This work originated in the requirement to erect a truck mounted astronomical telescope at multiple locations during the day in order to measure the atmospheric convective turbulence Fried Parameter r0 by tracking stars at various zenith angles. The custom equatorial mounting built for this project incorporates a surveyor's theodolite, which is used to establish an optical line of sight to the North Celestial Pole (NCP). The elevation angle of this line of sight is set directly by adjusting the theodolite tube elevation angle to that of the local geographic latitude obtained from a Global Positioning System (GPS) receiver. The theodolite is set into the azimuth of the Pole by observing an object on the horizon of known bearing angle or by observing the Sun=92s known azimuth at a specified time. Once the theodolite line of sight to the NCP is established, an optical target projector contained within and aligned with the polar axis provides an illuminated pattern, which is viewed by the theodolite. Subsequent adjustments of the elevation and azimuth of the polar axis bring the projected pattern onto the intersection of the crosshairs in the theodolite reticule, thereby bringing the polar axis into close coincidence with the NCP. Denver University astronomers are interested in this application for their proposed Fully Adaptive Segmented Telescope (FAST) instrument, a meter-class instrument which can be transported among high altitude sites (see www. adaptive-optics.com). Equinox Interscience (303-843-0313) can provide this daytime polar alignment capability to interested users for equatorial mountings.

If you would like more information about this abstract, please follow the link to www.du.edu/~rstencel/MtEvans. This link was provided by the author. When you follow it, you will leave the Web site for this meeting; to return, you should use the Back comand on your browser.

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