The Hobby-Eberly Telescope

Blue Line's edge sensing and active segmented mirror technologies have played a critical role in sustaining the Hobby-Eberly Telescope (HET) at the McDonald Observatory outside Ft. Davis, TX. The telescope, operated by the University of Texas at Austin and built by a consortium of five universities from the US and Germany, employs an impressive 9.2-meter primary mirror and a moving tracking assembly to conduct world-class spectroscopy. Blue Line engineered a complex edge sensing system to align HET's mirror array, which is composed of 91 individual 1-meter hexagonal segments.

HET’s Segment Alignment Maintenance System (SAMS) maintains an aligned mirror stack using 480 of Blue Line’s inductive edge sensors and high-fidelity electrolytic tilt sensors, which monitor each mirror segment for changes in position. Once per second, the system records measurements of temperature, changes in gap width, and variations in segment position at a resolution of 17 nanometers. These finely tuned sensor outputs are incorporated into control algorithms to create corrective actuator commands for each segment.

Below are pictures of the Blue Line crew installing edge sensors at the McDonald Observatory. Click on any image for a larger view.

Join our private mailing list to be notified of white papers and new products.
Back to Past Projects
Space Applications | Industrial Applications | Actuator Design | Custom Engineering | Past Projects| Home | About Us | Our Capabilities | Our Products | Employment | Contact Us