Thursday, September 22, 2016

LINC-NIRVANA settles in its new home at LBT

leave the clean room

LINC-NIRVANA (LN) is a near infrared imaging instrument for the Large Binocular Telescope (LBT) designed to offer both multi-conjugate adaptive optics (MCAO) and interferometric beam combination for ultra high spatial resolution. LN is a collaboration between the German and Italian partners. Its Principal Investigator is Tom Herbst (MPIA  - Max Planck Institute for Astronomy, Heidelberg).

The LN bench, without all its opto-mechanical components, was briefly introduced to its new home in November 2015 (see here). 

Following 8 months of assembly, integration, and verification in the mountain clean room, on 19-Sep-2016 the instrument was rolled out of the summit clean room in preparation for the “big lift” planned for the following day. On the morning of 20-Sep-2016 the LBT staff, working in close cooperation with the LN team, carefully flew the 10-ton instrument over the instrument gallery to its designated position at the rear bent Gregorian focal station of LBT. Then on the following day, 21-Sep-2016, the instrument cover and upper instrument access platform (UIAP) were installed. 

On-sky commissioning of the instrument should start in January 2017, following a short glimpse at the sky currently scheduled for late November 2016. 

You will find a few pictures below and videos in the LBTO video gallery.

LN has been carefully moved with the crane to the rear portion of the instrument gallery, as the telescope is gradually raised in elevation to clear the path.  All team members must work in close harmony to achieve this careful choreography.

With the telescope safely locked at the zenith position, LN is lowered the last few meters onto the instrument platform.

A last look at the interior of LINC-NIRVANA before the cover is installed.  
- The two large cylindrical structures with cable chains seen at the front of the instrument (top in this view) are the Ground Layer Wave Front Sensors, one of the first optical systems to receive light from the telescope.  
- The two rectangular black structures at the rear of the instrument (just below the center of the image) are the High Layer Wave Front Sensors. 
- The silver and yellow railing at the bottom center are the rails used to install and remove the cryostat. 
- The surrounding white cabinets contain the computers, networking gear, motor controllers, detector readout electronics, and other services required to operate LN.

Traveling back in time, here is a sketch of LN on the telescope as shown in the first SPIE paper on the instrument (2003).

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