2005-06 Summer Photos - DSL/South Pole Telescope (SPT)

big eye

Since this thing is so big, forgive me if I start with a few conceptual views. Here's an early conceptual design from 2003 (JM). By then, the preliminary planning had already been underway for several years--here's a 1998 paper by Tony Stark et al; it documents a 1997 planning meeting on the project.
big eye
Here is a 2006 conceptual design of the telescope itself; this is a bit closer to the way it really turned out (VP).
dish it up
Here's another conceptual view, this one of the model. It shows the large ground shield which was scheduled for installation in 2007-08--it eventually was cancelled. All of the other submillimeter telescopes at Pole have had ground shields to block off interference from near the horizon (SPT).
bring down the door
And like most of them, the SPT will have a section (this one 60) that can open to allow short observations near the horizon, including calibration (looking at planets) and test observations of a tower-mounted target (SPT).
And as if the telescope itself doesn't dominate the Pole horizon already even without the ground shield seen in the above views, it dwarfs the adjacent DSL...here are a few more views to emphasize the size as it were:

foldaway

The above drawing shows the telescope tilted down in the docking position, where the receiver cabin can be accessed through the roof of the control room (AAS).
future stuff
This drawing shows the telescope with the primary mirror pointing upward in an operational position, and identifies some of the components, including the outer ground shield and a second inner radiation shield. (SPT)
big stuff
These drawings have dimensions in inches (hmmm). (SPT)
Okay, we know this is a "10 meter telescope" which means that the diameter of the primary mirror, the large curved dish, is, well, 10 meters, or about the same distance (33 feet) that the Pole marker gets moved every year. In the planning stages this used to be called the "8-meter telescope"--I don't know what happened, but in any case the image from the outer 1-meter ring of the primary mirror will usually be discounted so maybe it really is an 8-meter instrument, which is what they used to call it. As for that big ground shield, the outside diameter would have been 144 feet...almost as big as the (165') dome. But since it was to be conical rather than dome-shaped, the overall structure would have been bigger than the dome. And speaking of the dome, the ground shield structure would have been fabricated by TEMCOR, the same folks that brought us the dome! The ground shield was to be made of 1/16" thick aluminum panels (supported by a steel frame) with an epoxy phenolic coating so that snow won't stick to it...therefore the bottom of the truncated-cone-shaped shield was to be open. By the way, the primary mirror itself has electric heaters. Okay, enough of these drawings, on to the real stuff...

breaking news
As with all great construction projects this started with a hole
in the ground west of DSL...the ceremonial groundbreaking
happened on 15 November 2004. I can't recognize all of the
folks, but C-Note (Carlton Walker) is obviously in the middle
of the group (SPT).
dig for science
Here us what the hole looked like a year later when I took this photo from DSL a couple of days before leaving Pole in November 2005. In the background is the VLF shack, which had been moved west previously to make room for the big dig.
space
And a few days after I left, here is the completed excavation being laid out (C).
a foundation for science
Arranging the foundation pieces C)...
six sided figure
...into a hexagon to support the main telescope foundation (EB).
buildup
Starting to put the steel base frame together (KY)...
boltup crew
....and the structure goes up (CC).
another pickup
...thus (KY).
pipes
A view from another angle (C).
heavy
A closer view (JM).
craning
...like this, looking the other way (C).
Continue on....


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