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The European Southern Observatory counts on Procon Systems for the construction of its new telescope

12-04-2021

The European Southern Observatory (ESO) has begun construction of the ELT (Extremely Large Telescope), the world's largest new optical/near-infrared telescope.

The ELT will have a 40-metre primary mirror (M1) and the observatory has contracted Procon Systems to build, validate and ship the 132 cabinets that will control the 798 mirrors that make up the M1.

Each cabinet will control the position of 7 mirrors (7 segment flower) using three position actuators per mirror. The position settings are derived from the installed sensors and measure the relative displacements with an accuracy of nanometres. In addition to the position, the deformation of the mirrors is also controlled by torque or force actuators to maintain an optimum shape across the entire primary mirror.

The control electronics, communications, control and power components of the M1 are housed in cabinets supplied by Procon Systems.

The control cabinets are isolated to contain the heat generated by all the components. This dissipated heat can interfere with the correct functioning of the telescope, which is why it has been necessary to install a liquid cooling system with heat exchangers rather than fans. In addition, the cabinet has been designed to withstand the seismic accelerations that can occur at Cerro Armazones in Chile, where the ELT telescope is being built.

*The photographs published in this news item have been taken on ESO facilities with permission of ESO.

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