The Southern Astrophysical Research (SOAR) telescope is a \$28M collaboration between Brazil, NOAO, Michigan State University, and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. NOAO will operate the telescope for 20 years in exchange for 30 astronomers.) The project is now fully funded. This f/16 telescope is optimized for high-quality images across the isokinetic field (0."17 FWHM degradation from the telescope+facility over a field of 7.5' diameter.) It is being designed to take up to 2 Gemini-class (2100 kg) instruments, or a combination of lighter instruments at 7 Nasmyth and bent Cassegrain foci. The facility is now under construction atop Cerro Pachon, 400m from Gemini-S. First light is currently scheduled for early 2002. Corning Inc. is preparing to fabricate the 4.2m-diameter, 7.5-10 cm thick primary mirror from ULE glass. In early 1999 contacts will be awarded for 2 major subsystems: active optics (which includes optics polishing), and the alt.-az. telescope mount. We will outline the novel strategies that are being used to control project costs while optimizing telescope performance. Instrumentation plans will also be summarized.
American Astronomical Society Meeting Abstracts
- Pub Date:
- December 1998