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We have designed, built and are deploying complete 1-meter autonomous telescopes, operating as a global network with centralized scheduling. The 1-meter prototype in Santa Barbara was used as a test facility to validate all optical, mechanical, electrical and software functions prior to wider deployment.
The first 1-meter deployment was to ELP, MacDonald Observatory, in April 2012. Three 1-meter telescopes were deployed to Cerro Tololo, Chile in September 2012. Three more were installed at SAAO, Sutherland, South Africa in February 2013. Two more were installed at Siding Spring Observatory, Australia in May 2013.
As of May 2013 ten 1m telescopes have been deployed, with parts for 5 more 1-m telescopes on hand. They join our two 2-m telescopes and the 0.8m BOS telescope and are being operated as part of our global network. See http://lcogt.net/camera for live views of our working sites. See this recent paper about the Las Cumbres Observatory Global Telescope Network and future plans.
This video shows a schematic of an LCOGT 1-meter telescope responding rapidly to a request for observations. The telescope slews to the target and then tracks it. Simultaneously the dome rotates into alignment, both dome shutters open, and the mirror cover opens (you can see reflections in the mirror) so the telescope is ready to start imaging in the requested filters. Normally each telescope will already be open and observing, but this shows all the steps necessary to fulfill an observing request. The 1-meter telescopes can move from anywhere to tracking and observing any new target in 30 seconds or less. This is also available to open as a zoomable CAD drawing.
The main elements of the 1m mount are:
The main elements of the Optical Tube Assembly (OTA) are:
click icons to expand or link to full CAD: left-cutaway, right-cutaway
Each 1-meter telescope will be deployed initially (2012/2013) with
These will be replaced in 2014 by the main science imager:
Both these CCDs attach below a Filter/Shutter unit with carbon fiber disk shutter and 3 wheels, each 8 positions, providing
An exposure time calculator can be used to estimate typical exposure times for our different aperture classes.
There are 4 off-axis ports which can all see light simultaneously with the main science camera, see the 1m focal plane diagram.
One port to the North of the main science field always has an FLI autoguider with 0.34" pixels and 5.7' Field of View. At least one telescope per site also has a Lucky Imaging/High Speed Photometer (LIHSP) consisting of:
Future 1m Instrumentation
Two telescopes per site will have off-axis ports to provide a fiber feed for the Network Robotic Echelle Spectrograph (NRES). Each spectrograph will accept fibers from two one meters simultaneously, and provide autonomous target acquisition, placement and guiding on the fiber while spectra are obtained. This capability has already been tested with the FLOYDS spectrographs on our 2m telescopes. We are currently installing a prototype on our 0.8-meter BOS telescope and will build 6 copies, one for each site.
The main elements of the Facility Control System (common to all telescope classes) are
Filters: Full details of observatory filter sets.