Abstract

The Large Binocular Telescope (LBT) Observatory is a collaboration among institutions in Arizona, Germany, Italy, Indiana, Minnesota, Ohio, and Virginia. The telescope on Mount Graham in South eastern Arizona uses two 8.4โ€‰m diameter primary mirrors mounted side by side. A unique feature of the LBT is that the light from the two Gregorian telescope sides can be combined to produce phased-array imaging of an extended field. This cophased imaging along with adaptive optics gives the telescope the diffraction-limited resolution of a 22.65โ€‰m aperture and a collecting area equivalent to an 11.8โ€‰m circular aperture. This paper describes the design, construction, and commissioning of this unique telescope. We report some sample astronomical results with the prime focus cameras. We comment on some of the technical challenges and solutions. The telescope uses two F/15 adaptive secondaries to correct atmospheric turbulence. The first of these adaptive mirrors has completed final system testing in Firenze, Italy, and is planned to be at the telescope by Spring 2010.

© 2010 Optical Society of America

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