The ATLAS (Asteroid Terrestrial-impact Last Alert System) optical tube assembly is specifically designed to detect asteroids and provide warning of an impact with the Earth.
The 0.5-m (20-inch) aperture F/2 wide field (7.5-degrees) modified Schmidt Camera allows light to enter through the fast shutter (upper left) and pass through a Schmidt 4th order corrector lens to the 26-inch aperture mirror (located lower right).
The light is then reflected back through a 3-element field corrector, through 1 of 8 selectable filters, and to the focal plane.
The detector is a 110 Megapixel CCD with a 94-mm by 94-mm format.
These modified Schmidt Cameras can be used for other science as well - anywhere a very wide field is needed.
The ATLAS asteroid tracker was completely designed and fabricated in the Longmont facility including metal machining and fabrication, welding, aircraft sheet metal fabrication and composite molding.
The optics for the ATLAS asteroid tracker were also produced at DFM Engineering in the Telescope Optics shop. The optics were finished and interferometrically tested in auto collimation.
Additionally, design and functionality of the optics in relation to the cameras, detectors and controller, filters and filter changer were evaluated in the design phase.
The DFM electronics engineers developed the software for the computer control system (TCSGalil™) and the 20"/26" Schmidt Camera focus, shutter, and filter changer.
For more information about the ATLAS Optical Tube Assembly (asteroid tracker) project and how to order an instrument for your institution, contact DFM Engineering.