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Assembly of JST250 Telescope begins at Javalambre Astrophysical Observatory

2013-11-15 12:30
Assembly of JST250 Telescope

Assembly of JST250 Telescope

The assembly of the main telescope of the Observatorio Astrofísico de Javalambre (OAJ) is one of the most important milestones of the project.

The first structural pieces of the JST / T250 (Javalambre Survey Telescope) arrived last month, and now they have begun to settle in the Observatorio Astrofísico de Javalambre. The assembly work is being performed by technicians and engineers from AMOS, which is the company responsible for manufacturing the telescope. They are supported by technicians from Torrescámara, which is the company in charge of the civil works of the observatory, and by the engineering department of CEFCA.

The assembly of the telescope started once the acceptance tests of the dome were successfully conducted. The mechanical structure and the electrical and control systems have to be assembled in this phase of the project. The final optical elements will arrive at Buitre Peak after the winter.

Assembly works will extend for several weeks and they comprise the integration of the pieces, their alignment, the counterbalanced elements, the fine adjustment of the structure and the verification tests. At this time of year, weather conditions can affect the progress of the work.

The JST250 is the most complex element of the Astrophysical Observatory. The weight of the telescope is over 40 tons and its movements should have an accuracy of a few microns in order to meet the requirements of the scientific observations.

The first task of the telescope will be to perform a three-dimensional mapping of the space to study the universe at large-scale. The map of the sky will cover an area of 8,000 square degrees and will allow studying the nature of dark energy, the history of the universe's expansion over the last 10,800 million years or the formation and evolution of the galaxies.

For this, the JST250 will be equipped with a wide-field panoramic camera (JPCam) in order to cover an area equivalent to 36 full moons. JPCam will be one of the astronomical scientific cameras with the highest number of pixels in the world (1,200 million).