RC Optical Systems

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16 in (41 cm) RCOS Truss telescope, part of the PROMPT Telescopes array
Dwarf planet Eris as seen in an 8-minute image using a RCOS 24" Ritchey-Chrétien.
TacSat-2 launch preparations

RC Optical Systems is a high-end American telescope and optics manufacturer that specializes in Ritchey-Chrétien telescopes with hyperbolic mirrors.[1] RC also makes related mounts and systems for the telescopes, with a focus on open and closed carbon fiber trusses for low expansion. The Ritchey-Chrétien uses two mirrors and no refractors, which reduces light loss and its optical characteristics make it popular for astrophotography. RC Optical Systems was started 1998 and is located in Flagstaff, Arizona.[2] Telescopes and systems are sold commercially to individuals, institutions, and governments.[3] The smallest RCOS telescope, the 12.5 inch F/9 Ritchey-Chrétien had a base price of just over twenty thousand US dollars in 2009, with large and/or custom models costing considerably more.

RC Optical Systems and Star Instruments won a lawsuit in 2008 against Meade Instruments over Meade's description of RCX400 and LX200R telescopes and the Ritchey-Chrétien classification.[4]

RC Optical Systems produced the Lulin Observatory 0.41-m (16-inch) f/8.8 in Taiwan[5] Six .61 RCOS are being used in the PROMPT telescope (Panchromatic Robotic Optical Monitoring and Polarimetry Telescopes), which is being built by the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill at Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory (CTIO) in Chile.

A 50 cm aperture RCOS telescope formed the basis of the TacSat-2 observation system, an experimental satellite launched in 2006.[6]

Major designs offered by 2009, over a decade after its founding included [7]

Telescopes for astronomy
  • 12.5 inch F/9 Truss Ritchey-Chrétien, 12.5 inch F/9 Ritchey-Chrétien
  • 14.5 inch Truss Ritchey-Chrétien
  • 16 inch F/8.4 Ritchey-Chrétien, 16 inch Truss F/8.4 Ritchey-Chrétien
  • 20 inch F/8.1 Ritchey-Chrétien, 20 inch Truss F/8.1 Ritchey-Chrétien
  • 24 inch f/8 Truss Ritchey-Chrétien [8]
  • 32 inch Truss (81 cm) f/7 Ritchey-Chrétien [9]
Telescopes for ruggedized and military use
  • 12.5 inch f/9 Military Ritchey-Chrétien
  • 16 inch f.8.4 Military Ritchey-Chrétien
  • 20 inch f/8.1 Military Ritchey-Chrétien
  • 24 inch f/8 Military Ritchey-Chrétien
  • 32 inch f/7 Military Ritchey-Chrétien
  • 34 inch f/8 Military Ritchey-Chrétien


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