AAS 206th Meeting, 29 May - 2 June 2005
Session 15 Astronomical Instruments
Poster, Monday, 9:20am-6:30pm, Tuesday, 10:00am-7:00pm, May 30, 2005, Ballroom A

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[15.10] The Discovery Channel Telescope, Progress and Status 2005

T. A. Bida, R. L. Millis, E. W. Dunham, B. W. Smith, M. de Kock, O. Wiecha (Lowell Observatory)

The Discovery Channel Telescope (DCT) is a 4.2-m telescope to be built at a new site near Happy Jack, in northern Arizona. The DCT features a large prime focus mosaic CCD camera with a 2-degree-diameter field of view especially designed for surveys of KBOs, Centaurs, NEAs and other moving or time-variable targets. The telescope will have Ritchey-Chretien and Nasmyth configurations for optical/IR imaging and spectroscopy. The ultra-low-expansion (ULE) meniscus primary mirror in fabrication at Corning Glass has been recently slump-formed to the prescribed radius-of-curvature. Goodrich Aerospace, Vertex RSI, M3 Engineering and Technology, and e2v Technologies have completed in-depth conceptual designs of the optics, mount, facility, and mosaic focal plane, respectively, the results of which were subjected to a formal review in July, 2004. The telescope facility has moved into the detailed design phase by Lowell Observatory and M3.

An extended site-testing campaign of the astronomical and environmental qualities at the Happy Jack site was conducted from January 2003-October 2004 . Differential image motion observations on 117 nights gave median seeing of 0.84 arcsec FWHM, with a first-quartile average of 0.62 arcsec FWHM. The use permit securing long-term access to this site on the Coconino National Forest was issued in November 2004, and site preparation for the access road was initiated before winter 2004. Formal ground breaking is planned for June 2005, and construction of major facility elements are expected to commence in earnest at that time. The Discovery Channel Telescope is a project of the Lowell Observatory with major financial support from Discovery Communications, Inc. (DCI). DCI plans ongoing television programming featuring the construction of the telescope and the research ultimately conducted with the DCT. Lowell Observatory is actively seeking an additional partner for the project. Interested parties should contact R. L. Millis, Director, at Lowell Observatory.

If you would like more information about this abstract, please follow the link to http://www.lowell.edu/DCT. 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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