A telescope to observe solar oscillations

Sacramento Peak Observatory solar telescope project
The telescope as it appeared during the 1983-84 summer; in the foreground is 1984 w/o cook
Connie Deady (photo from Allen Cull)

NSO telescope at Pole in 1982-83 This project was the work of what is now the National Solar Observatory at Sacramento Peak, Sunspot, NM. The instrument had first been brought to Pole during the 1980-81 season for testing; no significant observations could be made at that time because of RFI issues with the controlling electronics and a manufacturer's error involving the lens focal length. It was then shipped back to New Mexico, and after rework and more testing it was brought back to Pole and erected in the 1982-83 season, as seen at left. It was an f/100 refractor with a 10.64 cm aperture; the image was reflected several times, periscope style, inside the vertical tube, which was under vacuum (see diagram below).

This season the results were much better than in 1980-81. Over 600 hours of data were acquired, producing 15 data tapes--the best observing was in November and December. Preliminary review of the data at Pole led the field team to believe that they had enough detail to be able to analyze the solar acoustic spectrum.

The telescope was winterized, and the major portions were left in place. It was not operated during the 1983-84 summer season (when the above color photo was taken), but the team returned in 1984-85. They had modified the detector electronics to deal with issues encountered while processing the 1982-83 data, and in 1984-85 they were able to collect 932 hours of data successfully

At the end of the season, the instrument was dismantled and shipped back to the New Mexico observatory, where presumably it is still installed today.

schematic of this solar telescope

This diagram depicts a schematic of the telescope.
solar oscillation telescope

A 1984-85 closeup view of the instrument, with the met tower (which had been erected in 1983-84) in the background
References/photo sources:
The upper black and white photo of the telescope at Pole is from the article "Observations of solar oscillations at the South Pole" (Antarctic Journal, October 1983).

The schematic diagram of the telescope is from the 1983 paper "The measurement of long-period oscillations at Sacramento Peak Observatory and South Pole" by Robin Stebbins and Christine Wilson.

The photo with the met tower and shovel is from the article "Observation of solar brightness oscillations at the South Pole", from the Antarctic Journal 1985 review issue.

A 2002 color photograph of the telescope as now installed at the NSO in New Mexico appears in the 2004 paper "The History of Astrophysics in Antarctica" by Balthasar T. Indermuehle, Michael G. Burton, and Sarah T. Maddison, available from JACARA (which is "The Joint Australian Centre for Astrophysical Research in Antarctica").