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R. S. McMillan, M. L. Perry, T. H. Bressi, J. L. Montani, A. F. Tubbiolo, M. T. Read (LPL/U. Ariz.)
The Spacewatch 1.8-m telescope (Perry et al. 1996 BAAS 28,1096; McMillan et al. 1998 BAAS 30, 1114; Perry et al. 1998 Proc. SPIE 3351, 450-465) will be used to search for asteroids and comets anywhere from the space near Earth to regions beyond the orbit of Neptune, and to do astrometry on the fainter of such objects that are already known. Progress has been made toward making it operational. The primary and secondary mirrors have been installed. The servo-controlled friction drives for all three axes are operational. The telescope is being pointed and tracked on stars with a realtime video camera at folded prime focus. Motion is smooth and pointing is repeatable. Determination of the parameters to describe the inevitable small misalignments of the alt-az mount is under way. The distortionless coma corrector/field flattener is assembled and will be installed after the primary mirror is collimated to the instrument stage. The 2Kx2K CCD and its electronics are ready.
The mosaic of CCDs on the 0.9-m Spacewatch Telescope is to increase the rate of coverage of sky, while the 1.8-m telescope will be used to observe fainter objects. We have taken delivery of four of Marconi Applied Technologies' (formerly EEV) 2048x4608 three-side buttable grade 1 CCDs with 13.5 micron square pixels. Electronics for control and readout are well along in development. New optics for the 0.9-m are required for the wider, flat, distortionless field, and to match the new pixel size to 1 arcsec on the sky. We have received the field corrector lenses and ordered the blank for the new primary mirror. Fabrication of the lens cell and mirror cell has begun.
Development of the 1.8-m is funded by AFOSR, NASA, The Packard Foundation, The Kirsch Foundation, and others. The upgrade to the 0.9-m is funded by NASA and the Kirsch Foundation.
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