4.1-Meter observation telescope is designed to take the clearest possible images of the Universe from Earth
NEWTON NC: TriPoint Global Communications’ VertexRSI business is contributing to the successful rollout of the new Southern Astrophysical Research (SOAR) telescope in the mountains of Chile.
The 4.1-Meter aperture telescope, located on Chile’s Cerro Pachon Mountain, is funded by a partnership between the U.S. National Optical Astronomy Observatory (NOAO), the country of Brazil, Michigan State University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. SOAR is the sixth observatory in northern Chile an area prized by astronomers because it is far from man-made light sources, and its mild weather conditions allow observation approximately 300 nights a year.
The project, which began construction six years ago, is designed to produce the best quality images of any observatory in its class in the world. SOAR relies on precision pedestals, positioners and control components from VertexRSI.
Dr. Sidney Wolff, former director of NOAO, and President of the SOAR Board of Directors, said, “ SOAR is a modern 4.1-meter telescope with extremely high payload capacity. It is a very flexible instrument and will be used for exploring scientific problems ranging from how stars form today in the nearby universe to what the first generations of stars formed billions of years ago were like.”
“Unique among large telescopes,” Dr. Wolff said, “SOAR can reconfigure its instrumentation and point in less than five minutes. Therefore, SOAR is especially well suited for obtaining spectroscopy of hypernovae discovered by the Swift Gamma Ray Burst satellite. These hypernovae mark the deaths of stars that were formed only a few hundred million years after the expansion of the universe began 14 billion years ago. The mount and control system supplied by VertexRSI are one of the major success stories of SOAR,” Dr. Wolff said.
VertexRSI provided the pedestal, drive and control system, Nasmyth instrument rotators, and ancillary equipment. The equipment was produced at VertexRSI’s Controls and Structures business unit in Richardson, Texas.
The pedestal supplied by VertexRSI has a pointing sensitivity of 0.01 arc-second, which is equivalent to positioning the telescope to within 70mm at a distance of 1500 km or 3 inches at 1,000 miles.
Ray Heaton, Vice President and General Manager of VertexRSI’s Programs Division, said, “Optical telescopes must be very accurate for astronomical observing. VertexRSI’s pedestals and servo units meet the precise tolerances, speed, and durability required to support and accurately position optical telescope mirrors and instruments. Our Controls and Structures business is a leader in innovative pedestal and control system design. We are very pleased to contribute to the body of knowledge obtained by SOAR and other telescopes by delivering the highest quality positioners, pedestals and control equipment available today.”
VertexRSI offers a full range of antenna, amplifier, and frequency conversion products for fixed and mobile satellite communications ground stations, including system design, integration, commissioning and installation services. The company also provides precision antennas, positioning systems, and control systems for radio telescope, optical telescope, radar, and other specialized applications.
TriPoint Global Communications, Inc. (www.tripointglobal.com) is a leading global supplier of satellite and wireless communications products and services.
A high-resolution photograph of the SOAR telescope is available for downloading at