Lenses designed for new wide field imager

16th September 2016
Anna Flockett

Series of high precision lenses designed for a new wide field imager has been supplied to the National Observatory of Athens by Optical Surfaces, that will extend the capabilities of its 2.3m Aristarchos Telescope. The Aristarchos Wide-Field Camera (AWFC) is a new wide field imager which will be used on the 2.3m Aristarchos telescope at the Helmos Observatory in Greece.

It has a 26x26 arcmin field of view on the sky with a resolution of better than one arcsecond per pixel. The AWFC will be used for SDSS imaging and calculation of precise photometric redshifts of objects (e.g. supermassive black holes in active galactic nuclei) in sky fields covered by the ESA/XMM satellite and high resolution narrow-band imaging of large filamentary structures, including supernova remnants and planetary nebulae which are the end points in the life of stars.

For the latter, the AWFC will provide unique information about their structure and morphology which will help significantly to study their kinematics and dynamics together with subsequent spectroscopic observations. The wide field imager has been manufactured and is in its testing phase in the optical lab. Commissioning of the AWFC on the 2.3m Aristarchos telescope and first light is expected in 2017.

Because of its international reputation for supplying high precision telescope optics, the National Observatory of Athens (NOA) selected Optical Surfaces to manufacture and supply a 160mm diameter Field Lens and a Collimator lens assembly, comprising a cemented doublet, a meniscus lens and a biconvex lens. All these high precision AR coated lenses were designed to perform well over a wide range of wavelengths, in order to maintain the high performance and achromatic nature of the reflective optics of the Aristarchos telescope but over a much wider field of view.

Dr Panayotis Boumis, a senior researcher within the NOA, said: "Selecting a supplier to help design and manufacture these lens assemblies was a very important decision because of the critical role that they will play in extended the capabilities of our 2.3m Aristarchos telescope.”

Boumis added: “Throughout the project- Optical Surfaces provided us with a wealth of valued technical input demonstrating their extensive experience and knowledge in the area of designing high precision optics and lens assemblies for telescopes".

Dr Aris Kouris, sales manager at Optical Surfaces commented: “We are pleased to have been selected by the NOA to have provided advice on the final design of the lenses to extend the performance of their 2.3m Aristarchos telescope. Drawing upon over 50 years’ experience in telescope optics design and manufacturing we were able to come up with easily manufactured lens designs that delivered the required high performance whilst maintaining cost competitiveness. This is the second time that we have worked with the NOA and are happy that we have been of help once again for such an important project and customer.”

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