The 3.5-Meter Telescope Enclosure
Final rept. 17 Aug 1991-31 Mar 1993
PHILLIPS LAB KIRTLAND AFB NM
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The 3.5-m telescope enclosure is designed to perform two functions as part of the U.S. Air Forces 3.5-m telescope system 1 to provide weather and temperature protection when the telescope is not in use and 2 to permit open- air operation of the telescope while minimizing atmospheric disturbances in the field of view FOV. The use of a standard rotating dome is impractical because of the large telescope and its high rotational rate and acceleration. The enclosure is a 40-ft tall cylinder with a diameter of 72 ft. This steel and aluminum structure does not rotate but collapses vertically to fully expose the telescope to the open air and to provide it with an unobscured view of the horizon at all azimuthal angles. To lessen wind disturbances in the FOV, the enclosure has a moderately sloped roof and smooth, vertical walls. To minimize thermal flow, the outer surface has a high-reflectivity, low-emissivity coating and ambient air is forced through the double-skinned walls and roof. These measures make it possible to keep the enclosure surface temperature near that of the ambient air during viewing. With these features, the enclosure adds minimal degradation to the seeing.
- Optical Detection and Detectors