The image quality of the Southern African Large Telescope (SALT)

Darragh E. O'Donoghue, Eli Atad-Ettedgui, Luis Balona, Bruce C. Bigelow, John A. Booth, Lucian Botha, Janus D. Brink, David A.H. Buckley, Phil Charles, Alrin Christians, J. Christopher Clemens, Lisa A. Crause, Steven M. Crawford, Geoffrey P. Evans, Hitesh Gajjar, Yas Hashimoto, Malcolm Hendricks, Alexei Kniazev, Anthony R. Koeslag, Willie P. KoortsHerman J. Kriel, Nicola S. Loaring, Jonathan Love, Fred Marang, Douglas Metcalfe, Brennan Meyer, James O'Connor, Charl A. Du Plessis, Lawrence W. Ramsey, Encarni Romero-Colmenero, Craig Sass, Johann C. Scholtz, Ramotholo Sefako, Sandisa Siyengo, Martin Still, Ockert J. Strydom, Arkadiusz Swat, Johann F. Du Toit, Petri Vaisanen, Martyn Wells, Hannah Worters

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

14 Citations (Scopus)


Construction of the Southern African Large Telescope (SALT) was largely completed by the end of 2005 and since then it has been in intensive commissioning. This has now almost been completed except for the telescope's image quality which shows optical aberrations, chiefly a focus gradient across the focal plane, along with astigmatism and other less significant aberrations. This paper describes the optical systems engineering investigation that has been conducted since early 2006 to diagnose the problem. A rigorous approach has been followed which has entailed breaking down the system into the major sub-systems and subjecting them to testing on an individual basis. Significant progress has been achieved with many components of the optical system shown to be operating correctly. The fault has been isolated to a major optical sub-system. We present the results obtained so far, and discuss what remains to be done.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAdvanced Optical and Mechanical Technologies in Telescopes and Instrumentation
Publication statusPublished - 2008
Externally publishedYes
EventAdvanced Optical and Mechanical Technologies in Telescopes and Instrumentation - Marseille, France
Duration: 2008 Jun 232008 Jun 28

Publication series

NameProceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering
ISSN (Print)0277-786X


OtherAdvanced Optical and Mechanical Technologies in Telescopes and Instrumentation


  • Astigmatism
  • Focus gradient
  • Image quality
  • Optical aberrations
  • SAC
  • SALT
  • Southern African Large Telescope
  • Spherical aberration corrector

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Applied Mathematics
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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