Wide field telescope using spherical mirrors

J. H. Burge, J. R.P. Angel

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


A new class of optical telescope is required to obtain high resolution spectra of many faint, distant galaxies. These dim objects require apertures approaching 30 meters in addition to many hours of integration per object, and simultaneous observation of as many galaxies as possible. Several astronomical telescopes of 20, 30, 50, even 100 meters are being proposed for general purpose astronomy. We present a different concept here with a 30-m telescope optimized for wide field, multi-object spectroscopy. The optical design uses a fully steerable, quasi-Cassegrain telescope in which the primary and secondary mirrors are parts of concentric spheres, imaging a 3° field of view onto a spherical surface. The spherical aberration from the mirrors is large (about 2 arc minutes) but it is constant across the field. Our system design uses numerous correctors, placed at the Cassegrain focus, each of which corrects over a small field of a few arc seconds. These can be used for integral field spectroscopy or for direct imaging using adaptive optics. Hundreds of these units could be placed on the focal surface during the day to allow all-night exposures of the desired regions. We believe that this design offers an economical system that can be dedicated for several important types of astronomical observation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)83-92
Number of pages10
JournalProceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering
StatePublished - 2003
EventNovel Optical Systems Design and Optimization VI - San Diego, CA, United States
Duration: Aug 4 2003Aug 4 2003


  • Astronomical optics
  • Optical design
  • Telescope

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Applied Mathematics
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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