Adaptive Secondary Mirror

Pushing through Earth’s atmosphere for an unaffected view of space has been the foundational challenge for ground telescopes for hundreds of years. Adaptive Secondary Mirrors (ASMs) are an ingenious solution – manipulate the mirror surface to correct the negative atmo- spheric affects. L3Harris and our partners are taking this technology to a larger size than ever before, aimed at boosting ground-based observatory performance to unprecedented levels.

Larger Adaptive Mirror Benefits

Most commercially available ASMs, also called deformable secondary mirrors, are smaller than 65 centimeters, or 28 inches, in diameter. That means they are not installed on larger ground-based observatories like the University of Hawaii 2.2-meter telescope, which is also known as the UH 88-inch telescope, or UH88. L3Harris is producing an ASM that will fit the UH 2.2-meter telescope and allow the observatory to operate with corrections for atmospheric turbulence, thermal affects and other factors that degrade the images. This will result in more clarity than is currently achievable in similarly situated ground-based telescopes.

L3Harris Partners with University of Hawaii, Dutch Groups

The ASM UH 2.2-meter telescope project is an international collaboration among L3Harris, UH and three Dutch groups involved in telescope technology. The project lead is the Netherlands Organisation for Applied Scientific Research (TNO), a Dutch independent research organization focused on industrial innovation. Two private Dutch companies round out the project group – VDL and Hyperion Technologies. The U.S. National Science Foundation is providing funding for the effort, along with the government of the Netherlands. The UH 2.2-meter telescope will serve as a testbed for the technology, sharing data with the other stakeholders to refine and perfect the mirror. Ultimately, similar ASM technology will be available for other large ground-based observatories around the world.