New optics boost telescope’s wide-field performance

THE National Observatory of Athens has taken delivery of a series of high precision lenses designed for its new astronomical imager, the Aristarchos Wide-Field Camera (AWFC).

The 2.3m Aristarchos telescope

The 2.3m Aristarchos telescope

The new state-of-the-art optics will extend the capabilities of the 2.3m Aristarchos telescope at the Helmos Observatory in Greece.

The wide field imager has a 26×26 arcmin field of view on the sky with a resolution of better than 1 arcsecond per pixel.

The AWFC will be used for SDSS imaging and calculation of precise photometric redshifts of objects such as supermassive black holes in active galactic nuclei.

It will also provide high resolution narrow-band imaging of large filamentary structures, including supernova remnants and planetary nebulae.

The wide field imager has been manufactured and is currently in testing in the optical laboratory.

Commissioning of the AWFC and first light is expected in 2017.

The National Observatory of Athens (NOA) selected Optical Surfaces to manufacture and supply a 160mm diameter field lens and a collimator lens assembly, consisting of a cemented doublet, a meniscus lens, and a biconvex lens.

All these high-precision AR coated lenses were designed to perform well over a wide range of wavelengths, in order to maintain the performance and achromatic nature of the reflective optics of the telescope over a wider field of view.

Dr Panayotis Boumis, a senior researcher within the NOA, said: “Selecting a supplier to help design and manufacture these lens assemblies was a very important decision because of the critical role that they will play in extended the capabilities of our 2.3m Aristarchos telescope”.

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