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Discovery Channel Telescope – Technical Information


Overview of the DCT Facility

The DCT facility is the first part of the telescope to be constructed at the Happy Jack site located approximately 40 miles southeast of Flagstaff, AZ on U.S. Forest Service (USFS) land. The facility is comprised of two separate structures: the main telescope building, which houses the telescope mount and optics, instruments, instrument work room, control room, and computer room; and a detached auxiliary building, which contains all noisy or heat-producing support equipment, storage space, and the optical cleaning and aluminizing chamber.

Work on the DCT facility began in early 2005 following issuance of a Special Use Permit by the USFS in November 2004. The first step involved clearing and grading the DCT access road and site summit, followed by excavating the foundation, then pouring the concrete footings. Construction of the main facility building and auxiliary building began in Fall of 2005 and were fully completed in July 2007. A permanent fence, alarm monitoring system, and outdoor web cameras have also been installed as further security measures at the site. In 2010, the DCT project team expects to install remaining facility equipment including the UPS backups system, power generator, and data network infrastructure.


The DCT facility as of October 2009

The DCT facility was designed and constructed with the following goals in mind:

1. Provide infrastructure to the site, including water and sewage, access road, storm water drainage, electricity supply and a data link;

2. Protect the telescope from the rain and dust in the day and during bad weather;

3. Keep the air in the optical path of the telescope as close as possible to the ambient air temperature during observations while avoiding wind buffeting;

4. Cool equipment to prevent heat transfer into the optical path of the telescope and temperature gradients in critical parts of the system;

5. Provide a stable pier to support the telescope mount;

6. Provide a supporting wall and interface for the rotating dome;

7. Provide facilities for operational and maintenance personnel;

8. Provide service and utilities including lifts and hoists, HVAC, pneumatics, CCTV system, data and communications, electriciy distribution and emergency supply, fire alarm system, and lightning protection system.

You can go to our public photo tour site to view pictures of the facility construction.




Index Logo OPTICS

Primary Mirror

Secondary Mirror

Active Optics System

Optical Coating System

Index Logo MOUNT

Prime focus configuration images

Ritchey-Chretien configuration images



Index Logo NIHTS

Index Logo LMI

Index Logo The DeVeny Spectrograph



Building design & construction

Index Logo DOME

Environment in the dome



Site testing

Seeing histogram

Index Logo Environmental Assessment (NEPA)

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