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Journal of the Optical Society of America

Journal of the Optical Society of America

  • Vol. 42, Iss. 11 — Nov. 1, 1952
  • pp: 795–797

Optical Problems at the Palomar Observatory

IRA S. BOWEN  »View Author Affiliations

JOSA, Vol. 42, Issue 11, pp. 795-797 (1952)

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The great flexibility of the 200-inch mirror required the development of new and elaborate support systems to maintain the figure in all orientations. New methods had, therefore, to be devised for testing the mirror in the telescope while on these supports. The final figuring was done on the mountain on the basis of these tests.

To increase the effectiveness of the instrument, corrector lenses were designed by Ross greatly to enlarge the field of the main mirror. Likewise the method of evaporating a reflecting coat of aluminum was developed by Strong to replace the old silvering procedures. Several new optical designs were introduced in the spectrographs to make optimum use of the light collected. These included the use of (1) a composite of four “blazed” gratings to permit a collimator aperture of 12 inches; (2) Schmidt cameras with half-strength corrector plate placed practically in contact with the grating, the light passing through the plate twice (this eliminates many vignetting problems and permits higher speeds and larger fields); and (3) a combination of a quartz aplanatic sphere with a Schmidt camera for the shortest focal-length camera to obtain a much higher speed (F/D=0.7) than would otherwise have been possible.

IRA S. BOWEN, "Optical Problems at the Palomar Observatory," J. Opt. Soc. Am. 42, 795-797 (1952)

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  1. Don Hendrix, Pub. Astron. Soc. Pacific 51, 158 (1938).

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