NSO: To Image the Sun DKIST Starts With the Stars – Integration and Testing of M1 and M2 Assembly with Night-time Observation
Images of the Moon taken during focusing and testing of the primary and secondary mirrors in the DKI Solar Telescope. The ITC Team took these images at the “Gregorian” focus between the M2 and M3 positions. Credit: NSO/NSF/AURA
While the National Science Foundation’s Daniel K. Inouye Solar Telescope will stare at the Sun to detect magnetic fields, it first has to focus on objects far away – other celestial objects visible only in the night sky.
The Integration, Test and Commissioning (ITC) team with the DKI Solar Telescope (DKIST), led by Predrag Sekulic, ITC Optical Group Manager, recently began initial pointing tests and focusing experiments with the recently installed primary and secondary mirrors. These experiments included night-time observations of stars, planets and the Moon.
“The observatory ultimately will operate only during daytime hours to observe magnetic fields on the Sun,” says Mark Warner, project manager for DKIST. “But during the integration and commissioning process we’re not ready for the full Sun. So, the construction team uses a variety of night-sky objects to align and calibrate the telescope including stars, planets, and the Moon.”