DFM Engineering, Inc.
1035 Delaware Ave. Unit D
Longmont, CO 80501
Phone: 303-678-8143
Fax: 303-772-9411

Middlebury College Installation

A new DFM 24-inch computer controlled telescope was installed on top of Middlebury College’s Bicentennial Hall in Middlebury, Vermont. The telescope featured many of the instrumentation options DFM offers.

The 24-inch telescope was completed and tested in Colorado in January. The DFM team installed the telescope at Middlebury College in early February.

On Monday the DFM installation team met with Middlebury faculty and staff and got oriented at Bicentennial Hall. Bicentennial Hall is a beautiful new building and it was a pleasure to work there.

Tuesday, after carefully planning the lifts with the crane driver and the campus engineer, the actual lifts and setting of the large pieces of the telescope required only a few hours.

On Wednesday, the assembly of the new telescope had begun in earnest. Since DFM thoroughly tests each telescope before installation, assembly on site is routine.

Thursday, after the installation of the optics was complete, the DFM team proceeded to work on the Finder Telescope, Guide Acquire Module (GAM), Dome controls, and TCS remote station.

Friday began with the adjustment of the primary drives and progressed into the final testing all of the peripheral instrumentation ordered with the telescope.

Middlebury purchased just about every option DFM Engineering offers, including: Azimuth dome control, the remote controlled version of the imaging guide acquire module with motorized off-axis guiding, the DFM remote monitor and keyboard in the dome, and a GPS receiver for setting Telescope Control System (TCS-Sky) time.

Sunday night was clear and cold (-10F). It was a beautiful night with Venus shining brightly in the West and Jupiter and Venus overhead. The final testing phase began with finding focus in the main optics and alignment of the finder telescope.

After several hours of testing and moving the telescope pedestal in Azimuth and Elevation, work began on testing the DFM pointing model.

A data set was taken which allowed the DFM team to determine the residual Azimuth and Elevation misalignments which were mechanically removed.

After a few more pointing runs the expert DFM team was able to demonstrate RMS pointing of better than 12 arc seconds, and confirm the tracking performance of the telescope.

The week of expert installation by the DFM team and cooperation from the Middlebury staff proved to be very successful. The installation checklist was approved and, more importantly, the Middlebury faculty were very pleased with their new telescope.