Last June, Amos delivered a brand-new telescope to the Magdalena Ridge Observatory (New Mexico, USA). This telescope, the second unit in a series of 10 telescopes, was designed and built by Amos in its Belgian facilities located in Liège. It was transported to the United States by boat and then by truck and safely arrived on site in January 2023. Amos’ team took care of the installation and the customer, New Mexico Tech (NMT), officially accepted the telescope last June after a series of validation and performance tests. This new telescope joins the first telescope delivered by Amos several years ago.
NMT is currently building a large world-class facility in New Mexico, at the Magdalena Ridge Observatory (MRO). It consists in an array of telescopes working together to produce images with a resolution equivalent to what would be obtained through a telescope as large as the distance between the two farthest telescopes in the array, which will be in the MROi case 340 meters when the array is completed. The light collected by each telescope is fed in a tunnel and guided into the beam combining facility. There, the light beams are combined to generate an interference containing information about the observed astronomical object. By multiplying the observations from various angles and combining the resulting interference patterns, one can reconstruct a representation of the observed object with a resolution as large as the dimension of the array. Ultimately, the array will be composed of 28 stations and 10 telescopes, relocatable to any science-based configuration over the 28 stations.
Each telescope has a primary mirror with a diameter of 1.4 m and a specific design meeting the constraints of the MROi architecture: a very robust mount to dampen vibrations and two horizontal axes to minimize the number of mirrors in the telescope.
The acceptance of this second telescope is a key milestone for NMT. With two telescopes, NMT can start generating interferences between the two telescope light beams and observe the first interferometric fringes. NMT is currently integrating all the other elements of the beam combining facility to achieve this objective.
The acceptance of this second telescope is another success for Amos. “We are proud to deliver to New Mexico Tech this brand-new telescope for their array. The pandemic challenged both teams on each side of the Atlantic however, the excellent relationship between Amos and NMT allowed for overcoming those difficulties and resuming the project in the best possible conditions. Amos is deeply committed to the success of this ambitious project, both from a technical perspective, and a scientific point of view. Our workers and engineers are making sure to deliver state-of-the-art telescopes to contribute producing world-class science and publications.” said Xavier Verians, Director Business Development at Amos.