First light of the 1.6 meter off-axis new solar telescope at Big Bear Solar Observatory

Wenda Cao, Nicolas Gorceixb, Roy Coulterb, Aaron Coulterb, Philip R. Goodeab

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

13 Scopus citations


New Jersey Institute of Technology, in collaboration with the University of Hawaii and the Korea Astronomy & Space Science Institute, has successfully developed and installed a 1.6 m clear aperture, off-axis New Solar Telescope (NST) at the Big Bear Solar Observatory. The NST will be the largest aperture solar telescope in the world until the 4 m Advanced Technology Solar Telescope (ATST) and 4 m European Solar Telescope (EST) begin operation in the next decade. Meanwhile, the NST will be the largest off-axis telescope before the 8.4 m segmented Giant Magellan Telescope (GMT) comes on-line. The NST is configured as an off-axis Gregorian system consisting of a parabolic primary, prime focus field stop and heat reflector, elliptical secondary and diagonal flats. The primary mirror is made of Zerodur from Schott and figured to a final residual error of 16 nm rms by Steward Observatory Mirror Lab. The final focal ratio is f/52. The 180″ circular opening in the field stop defines the maximal square field-of-view. The working wavelength range will cover 0.4 to 1.7 μm in the Coud́e Lab two floors beneath the telescope, and all wavelengths including far infrared at the Nasmyth focus on an optical bench attached to the side of the telescope structure. First-light scientific observations have been attained at the Nasmyth focus and in the Coud́e Lab. This paper presents a detailed description of installation and alignment of the NST. First-light observational results are also shown to demonstrate the validity of the NST optical alignment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationGround-Based and Airborne Telescopes III
EditionPART 1
StatePublished - 2010
EventGround-Based and Airborne Telescopes III - San Diego, CA, United States
Duration: Jun 27 2010Jul 2 2010

Publication series

NameProceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering
NumberPART 1
ISSN (Print)0277-786X


OtherGround-Based and Airborne Telescopes III
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CitySan Diego, CA

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

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


  • Alignment
  • Solar observation
  • Telescope
  • Wave front sensor


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