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Seeing tests on a 254-mm mirror

C. M. Lowne of the Royal Greenwich Observatory performed an experiment to investigate the degradation of image quality in a heated mirror [Lowne].

The beam from a HeNe laser was diverged by a 20x microscope objective and than directed to a 254-mm spherical mirror. The return image was accepted by the microscope objective and relayed over a further 2 meters, giving an image magnification of 250x with image scale 2.5 mm to 1 arcsec. A calibrated iris was placed at this focus and the beam was then led to a CdS photo-conductive cell, which measured the light intensity.

The mirror was tested at three zenith angles (0, 20 and 50) and was heated and cooled artificially over a range of temperatures from -2K to +8K with respect to ambient.

The measurements consisted in recording in each test case the iris diameter through which passed 75% of the light intensity. These data, converted in arcsec, are listed in the tables below.

We have converted the 75% intensity diameters to FWHM seeing values by means of the SuperIMAQ computer program (fig. gif). Noting that the 75% intensity diameter for a diffraction limited (perfect) mirror is 0.73 arcsec, an aberration of 70 nm astigmatism was assumed in order to fit the reference measured value of 1 arcsec. The converted measurements are then plotted in fig. gif.

Figure: Relationship between seeing FWHM and 75% intensity diameter for a 254-mm mirror with 70 nm astigmatism.

Figure: Seeing FWHM for the 254-mm mirror.

Lorenzo Zago,, Sun Feb 26 22:57:31 GMT+0100 1995