OPTI617 Public Talk: John Hayes, "Optics Adventures During the Pandemic: Engineering a Remote Imaging Telescope"

    Monday, May 3, 2021 - 3:30pm - 4:45pm

    Join us on Zoom


    This is the story of engineering a remote 0.5 m telescope that will eventually be deployed in Chile for astronomical imaging.  Getting this system configured, tested, and running turned into a year-long project while in pandemic isolation.  As we’ll see, engineering an optical system goes far beyond simply producing the best optical design. This project drew on nearly every optical engineering discipline including optical design, physical optics, optical testing, mechanical design, sensor optimization and systems engineering—along with some “garage-shop” problem solving.  A new AI based wavefront analysis system was also used to precisely evaluate optical alignment.  We’ll start with a review of the optical design of a 20” Planewave CDK telescope, look at the optical system for guiding and auto-focusing, and review some of the considerations for selecting an appropriate imaging sensor.  Then we’ll look at what it takes to actually configure, test, align, and operate the telescope as a part of the commissioning process in the real world. Along the way, we’ll encounter a number of practical lessons that apply to any optical engineering project.

    Speaker Bio(s): 

    Dr. John Hayes received his BS in Physics and Astronomy from the University of Arizona, in 1975. He received MS (1981) and Ph.D. (1984) degrees from the Optical Sciences Center at the University of Arizona. Dr. Hayes became involved with WYKO Corporation shortly after its inception in 1982 and spent 15 years as a member of the technical staff, senior management team, and corporate board. As a Research Professor at the College of Optical Sciences (1999-2001,) Dr. Hayes developed interferometric vibration-compensated metrology solutions for aerospace applications.  In 2001, Dr. Hayes cofounded 4D Technology Corporation where he served as president through 2006 and a board member through 2018. The author of many technical publications, Dr. Hayes also holds numerous patents in the areas of optical testing, atomic force microscopy, suspension arm metrology, and dynamic interferometry.  In his spare time, he operates his own remotely controlled 0.35 m telescope in New Mexico for imaging deep sky objects.  He is currently configuring a new 0.5 m system that will operate remotely under the southern skies in Chile.  He has been recognized with numerous IOTD awards and a NASA APOD for his images and enjoys using his engineering background to further explore and advance the state of the art in amateur astronomical imaging.  He currently serves on the James C. Wyant College of Optical Sciences advisory board.