Telescope Structures and Control System

  • Jingquan Cheng

This chapter provides a comprehensive discussion on telescope structural design and analysis. Different telescope mounting designs are discussed in this chapter. Emphasis is placed on the altitude-azimuth mounting system. Formulas for star coordinator transformation and the zenith blend spot determination are provided. Formulas of a Steward platform are also introduced. Detailed information on telescope tube structure, secondary mirror vane structure, bearings, encoders, drive system, and control system design are also discussed. In the encoder part, a number of methods for increasing the encoder resolution are provided. The telescope pointing, tracking, star guiding, and the pointing correction formulas are discussed. In the final part of this chapter, static and dynamic structural analysis, wind and earthquake influence on structure, structure vibration control, and foundation design are all introduced. These contents are also useful for radio or other wavelength telescopes.


  1. Anderson, T, 1998, A first study of MMA antenna offset performance, ALMA memo, 231, National Radio Astronomy Observatory, US.Google Scholar
  2. Arya, S., O’Neill, M. and Pincus, G., 1984, Design of structures and foundations for vibrating machines, Gulf Publishing Co., Houston, Texas.Google Scholar
  3. Avitabile, A., 2001, Experimental modal analysis, Sound Vibration, 35 (1), 20–31.Google Scholar
  4. Bely, P. Y., 2003, The design and construction of large optical telescopes, Springer, New York.Google Scholar
  5. Borkowski, K. M., 1987, Near zenith tracking limits for altitude-azimuth telescopes, Vol. 37. Acta Astronomica, Poland, 79–88.Google Scholar
  6. Brunetto, E., et al., 2004, OWL, opto-mechanics, phase A, Proc. SPIE 5489, 571–582.Google Scholar
  7. Chatfield, C., 1996, The analysis of time series, an introduction, 5th edn. Chapman & Hall/CRC, London.MATHGoogle Scholar
  8. Cheng, J., 1987, Pointing error correction for 3.8 m United Kingdom Infrared Telescope, Vol. 28, No. 3. Acta Astronomia Sinica, Nanjing, China.Google Scholar
  9. Cheng, J., 1994, Damping and vibration control, ALMA memo 125, National Radio Astronomy Observatory, Charlottesville.Google Scholar
  10. Cheng, J., 2006, The principles and applications of magnetism, Chinese Science and Technology Press, Beijing, China, in Chinese.Google Scholar
  11. Cheng, J. and Li, G., 1988, Mechanical properties of crossed-vane type supporting structure, Astronomical Instrument and Technology, No. 1, p 5–10, Nanjing, China.Google Scholar
  12. Cheng, J. and Xu, X., 1986, Some problems of alt-azimuth mounting telescopes, Progress in Astronomy, Vol. 4, No. 4, 322–337, Shanghai, China.Google Scholar
  13. Crassidis, J. L. and Junkins, J. L., 2004, Optimal estimation of dynamic system, Chapman & Hall/CRC, London.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Davenport, A. G., 1961, The spectrum of horizontal gustiness near the ground in high winds, Quart. J. R. Meteorol. Soc., 87, 194.Google Scholar
  15. Dyrbye, D. and Hansen, S. O., 1996, Wind loads on structure, John Wiley & Sons, New York.Google Scholar
  16. Eaton, J. A., 2000, Report on application of hydrostatic bearings to the azimuth axis of the TSU 2 m telescope, Tennesse State University.Google Scholar
  17. Forbes, F. and Gaber, G., 1982, Wind loading of large astronomical telescopes, SPIE, 332, 198–205.ADSGoogle Scholar
  18. Gawronski, W., 2007, Control and pointing challenges of large antennas and telescopes. IEEE Trans. Control Syst. Technol., 15, 276.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Gawronski, W. and Souccar, K., 2003, Control systems of the Large Millimeter Telescope, IPN Progress Report 42-154, JPL, NASA.Google Scholar
  20. Haojian, Y., 1996, A new expression for astronomical refraction, Astro. J., 112, 1312.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Hu, Q., 2007, General design of astronomical telescopes, Nanjing Institute of Astronomical Optical Technology.Google Scholar
  22. Ieki, A., et al., 1999, Optical encoder using a slit-width-modulated grating, J. Modern Opt., 46 (1), 1–14.CrossRefADSGoogle Scholar
  23. Juvinall, R. C. and Marchek, K. M., 1991, Fundamentals of machine component design, John Wiley & Sons, New York.Google Scholar
  24. Koch, F., 1997, Analysis concepts for large telescope structures under earthquake load, SPIE, 2871, 117.ADSGoogle Scholar
  25. Koch, F., 2008, private communication.Google Scholar
  26. Korenev, B. G. and Reznikov, L. M., 1993, Dynamic vibration absorbers, John Wiley & Sons, New York.Google Scholar
  27. Mangum, J. G., 2001, A telescope pointing algorithm for ALMA, ALMA memo 366, National Radio Astronomy Observatory, Charlottesville.Google Scholar
  28. Mangum, J. G., 2005, ALMA notes, NRAO, Charlottesville.Google Scholar
  29. Parks, R. E. and Honeycutt, K., 1998, Novel Kinematic equatorial primary mirror mount, SPIE 3352, 537–543.Google Scholar
  30. Richter, C. F., 1958, Elementary seismology, Freeman, San Francisco.Google Scholar
  31. Sarioglu, M. and Yavuz, T., 2000, Vortex shedding from circular and rectangular cylinders placed horizontally in a turbulent flow, Tur. J. Eng. Environ. Sci., 24, 217–228.Google Scholar
  32. Schneermann, M. W., 1986, Structural design concepts for the 8 meter unit telescopes of the ESO-VLT, SPIE Proc., 628, 412.CrossRefADSGoogle Scholar
  33. Shi, X. and Fenton, R. G., 1992, Solution to the forward instantaneous kinematics for a general 6-dof Stewart platform, Mech. Mach. Theory, 27 .(3), 251–259.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Simiu, E. 1974, Wind spectra and dynamic alongwind response, J. Struct. Div., ASCE, 1897, ST_9.Google Scholar
  35. Simiu, E. and Scanlan H., 1986, Wind effects on structure, John Wiley & Sons, New York.Google Scholar
  36. Stewart, D., 1966, A platform with six degrees of freedom, Proc. Inst. Mech. Eng., 180 (15), Part 1, 371.Google Scholar
  37. Tedesco, J. W., et al., 1999, Structural dynamics, theory and applications, Addison-Wesley, Montlo Park, California.Google Scholar
  38. Wallace, P. T., 2000, Manual of TPOINT software, TPOINT Software, Abingdon.Google Scholar
  39. Watson, F. G., 1978, The zenithal blind spot of a computer-controlled alt-azimuth telescope, MNRAS, 183, 277–284.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jingquan Cheng
    • 1
  1. 1.National Radio Astronomy ObservatoryCharlottesvilleUSA

Personalised recommendations