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Ohio State University's Department of Astronomy integrates iCon into World's Largest Telescope

Category: iCon
Company: The Ohio State University Department of Astronomy
Industry: Telecommunications | Platform: PXI

The Ohio State University's Department of Astronomy has contributed to the development of the world's largest optical telescope, the Large Binocular Telescope. The LBT is comprised of two 27.5 foot wide mirrors, built into a single mount. The mirrors operate in conjunction with two identical Multi-Object Double Spectrographs, or MODS. Using the LBT and MODS, scientists can analyze the distance, physical conditions, and chemical makeup of the most distant stars and galaxies.

The MODS group at Ohio State University integrated VPC's iCon into MODS1, the spectrograph for the left Gregorian focal station of the LBT. iCon had to be operational in the telescope dome environment, in ambient temperatures from -28 deg C to 28 deg C and humidity.

The group could not use off-the-shelf components for theĀ  electronics, because of the need for reliable, very low EMF noise operation at such a wide temperature range while suspended from the telescope in every possible orientation (looking up to looking sideways, and rotated through a full circle) on a 10,000 foot mountain with wind speeds up to 30 MPH. iCon has exceeded the engineers' requirements for this environment, including surpassing the original specifications for the spectrograph's signal-to-noise ratio.