Arlen was born and raised in Honolulu.  She is currently a first year undergraduate student at UCLA, majoring in Aerospace Engineering with a minor in Chinese.  She has a younger brother who is currently a sophomore at Punahou School.  Arlen has been interested in Astronomy her entire life, so this internship is a perfect opportunity for her to get experience in the field of engineering while learning more about astronomy.

Institution when acceptedUniversity of California, Los Angeles

Akamai Project: Measuring the Deflection of the Telescope Mount

Project Site: Gemini Observatory

MentorsJohn White and Neal Masuda

Project Abstract:

No structure is perfectly rigid. As a telescope moves about the azimuth and elevation axes, the telescope mount will warp or deflect. The purpose of this project is to determine how the Gemini telescope mount is warping due to this deflection. The measurement setup contains two platform and surface mount inclinometers. After successful testing of the inclinometers in the lab, the inclinometers were again tested on the azimuth axis at the summit while positioned orthogonally to each other. Then readings were taken of the deflection on both sides of the elevation and the azimuth axis while the telescope was in motion. Once time vs. tilt graphs were created to visually represent the data, further analysis showed how the telescope deflects. This information is important for the Multi-Conjugate Adaptive Optics system (MCAO) that will be installed at Gemini South. This instrument contains a laser beam that runs across the telescope along the elevation axis. It will be necessary to know the deflection on that axis as the telescope moves in order to precisely aim the laser. The readings obtained at Gemini North as well as the entire measurement setup will be sent to Gemini South in Chile so they can take the same types of readings in order to align the MCAO.

Link to a PDF of Arlen’s project presentation.