Dome of world's largest solar telescope completed
The work on a dome meant to protect the Advanced Technology Solar Telescope (ATST), now under construction in the US state of Hawaii, has been completed by two Spanish companies.
The dome has been designed to allow the telescope to follow the movement of the sun across the sky, said an official linked to one of the two Spanish companies -- Gometegui and Hilfa -- who worked on it.
Having a diametre of 26 metres (85 ft.), this dome is 24 metres high and weighs 600 tonnes.
The USD 4.7 million contract to create the "house of the telescope", as Gometegui executive Iñaki Gento termed it, was awarded by the US National Solar Observatory to the Spanish companies.
The ATST is set to begin operations in 18 months at the Haleakala High Altitude Observatory site on the Hawaiian island of Maui.
After undergoing trials, the dome will be disassembled for transport to Hawaii by sea in January.
The telescope in intended to provide a revolutionary new window on the solar magnetic atmosphere and will be the primary scientific tool for understanding the impacts of variations in the solar output on the Earth's climate.
(Posted on 21-09-2013)