The original concept design for the DCT mount featured a tumbling top end to support both modes in a dual configuration allowing for quick mid-night changes in instrumentation. However, further studies determined that the feasibility of the early concept design was limited due to the complexity, weight, and cost of the tumbling top end.
As such, the mount conceptual design was modified in 2006 by introducing a swappable top end with negligible loss of science capability. The wide field camera, consisting of the prime focus assembly (PFA) and hexapod adjusters, will now be mounted on a dedicated support.
The RC top end, consisting of the secondary mirror on a lightweight support, will reduce vignetting and improve infrared sky contrast at the RC focus, and allow support for Nasmyth instrumentation. The top end assemblies will be changed during day shift operations, with a goal of under four hours for reconfiguration.
For further information about the DCT mount design CLICK HERE.
In May 2008, Lowell Observatory awarded the mount design and fabrication contract to General Dynamics SATCOM Technologies (formerly VertexRSI). The DCT project team conducted the final design review for the mount with General Dynamics in March 2009. Fabrication and machining of major mount components began shortly thereafter.
In January 2010, Lowell Observatory selected Laron, Inc. out of Kingman, AZ to conduct the mount assembly and installation activities. March 25, 2010 marked the official start of this work at Happy Jack with the successful installation of the mount pedestal. Other major mount components were installed over the summer. Testing and final acceptance of the mount is scheduled for October 2010.
See photos of the Mount fabrication and installation activities by visiting our TOUR PAGE.
FIRST LIGHT INSTRUMENTS