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Measuring and Correcting Wind-Induced Pointing Errors of the Green Bank Telescope Using an Optical Quadrant Detector

By Paul Ries, Todd R. Hunter, Kim T. Constantikes, Joseph J. Brandt, Frank D. Ghigo, Brian S. Mason, Richard M. Prestage, Jason Ray and Frederic R. Schwab


Wind-induced pointing errors are a serious concern for large-aperture high-frequency radio telescopes. In this paper, we describe the implementation of an optical quadrant detector instrument that can detect and provide a correction signal for wind-induced pointing errors on the 100m diameter Green Bank Telescope (GBT). The instrument was calibrated using a combination of astronomical measurements and metrology. We find that the main wind-induced pointing errors on time scales of minutes are caused by the feedarm being blown along the direction of the wind vector. We also find that wind-induced structural excitation is virtually non-existent. We have implemented offline software to apply pointing corrections to the data from imaging instruments such as the MUSTANG 3.3 mm bolometer array, which can recover ~70% of sensitivity lost due to wind-induced pointing errors. We have also performed preliminary tests that show great promise for correcting these pointing errors in real-time using the telescope's subreflector servo system in combination with the quadrant detector signal.Comment: 17 pages, 11 figures; accepted for publication in PAS

Topics: Astrophysics - Instrumentation and Methods for Astrophysics
Year: 2011
DOI identifier: 10.1086/660677
OAI identifier:
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