APOLLO Laser on the Telescope

mounting frame

This is the steel triangle frame that forms the interface between the laser bench and the telescope. The six flexure mounts attach to this frame. The "back port" is shown covered by a circular plate. Above this is the step/shield meant to provide a way for observatory staff to maneuver around the laser box when performing maintenance on the telescope. This will also support a spray shield to protect the primary mirror in the event of a fluid leak within the laser box.

laser mounted on scope

Here we see the laser mounted on the primary mirror cell of the 3.5 meter telescope. The front of the telescope and the dome shutter doors are seen at upper left. Starting at the bottom of the laser assembly, we see the two-layer insulation that forms the bottom of the soon-to-be-built enclosure. The corners are covered in cardboard to protect the foam during installation. Next we see the laser's optical bench—a 4-inch thick bench onto which the laser is constructed. The bench is grabbed by a total of six flexure-mounts, three of which are seen here (two vertical and one horizontal). The flexures themselves are obscured by the protective cups that house them and provide support in the event of flexure failure. On top of the laser bench is the laser enclosure. Three ports are visible on the smaller wall: the largest is for the electrical cables to the laser, and the two small ports are for coolant water supply and return. The laser light is emitted from the long wall on the far side, toward the red ladder on the mirror cell. The light is directed into the "back port" via a turning mirror (not yet built).

Larry and laser

Larry Carey standing beside the installed laser. Larry is smiling because he knows how much hard work he put in to get to this point. He wouldn't be smiling if he knew how much effort would be needed in the next two days to finish all the installation tasks! This view shows the three flexure legs not visible in the photo above, and also shows where the laser beam emerges from the enclosure (the little black box on the side of the enclosure).

Tom and Dave by laser

Tom standing next to the laser on the telescope as Dave Woods looks on.

laser inside insulation

The laser bench is enclosed inside an insulating box, meant to both keep the laser bench at a steady temperature and to keep heat from the laser bench from infiltrating the dome (see the page on the APOLLO thermal scheme for details). The box shown here (called the Utah box for obvious reasons) was primarily built at the SIO (Scripps Inst. for Oceanography) machine shop by David Malmberg and Randy Engle. The extension at upper left will house the timing electronics and clock. The panels latch together for easy removal, and the two front doors hinge open—giving the box a definite refrigerator feel. The cabinet that houses other APOLLO electronics is seen at left.

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