Richard B. Dunn Solar Telescope
|Location(s)||Sacramento Peak, New Mexico|
|Organization||National Solar Observatory|
|Wavelength||310–1000 nm (optical, IR)|
|Telescope style||Prime focus|
|Diameter||76 cm (primary mirror 152.4 cm)|
|Angular resolution||0.33 mas/nm
|Collecting area||4.9 ft², 0.456 m²
(30 inch entrance window)
|Focal length||180 ft, 54.86 m|
|Mounting||Vertical axis with heliostat|
|Enclosure||None; enclosed vacuum optics|
The Richard B. Dunn Solar Telescope is a unique vertical-axis solar telescope, located at the National Solar Observatory at Sacramento Peak, New Mexico. The optical path starts at a heliostat on top of a 136-foot-tall (41 m) tower and continues 193 feet (58.8 m) more underground to the primary mirror. It then returns to one of six quartz optical windows in the floor of an optical laboratory at ground level. The optics are evacuated to eliminate distortion due to convection in the telescope that would otherwise be caused by the great heat produced by focusing the light of the sun.
A unique feature of the telescope is its approach to image derotation: the entire 100-metre-long (330 ft) telescope and 40-foot-diameter (12 m) optics lab, 250 tons total, rotates suspended from a mercury float bearing at the top of the tower. The lowest excavated point (the bottom of the sump) is 228 feet (69.5 m) below ground.
Originally the Vacuum Tower Telescope at Sacramento Peak, it was renamed in 1998 in honor of the retiring solar astronomer Richard B. Dunn who was the driving force behind its construction. In October 2017 the Sunspot Solar Observatory Consortium will take over operations, with New Mexico State University as the operating entity.
- "Dunn Solar Telescope Instrumentation". Richard B. Dunn Solar Telescope website. Retrieved 2013-09-26.
- World's Premier Solar Telescope Named After its Creator, Dr. Richard B. Dunn, 1998-09-21
- Rutten, Robert J. (1999), "The Dutch Open Telescope: History, Status, Prospects" (PDF), in T. Rimmele; K. Balasubramiam; R. Radick, High Resolution Solar Physics: Theory, Observations, and Techniques
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