Home Island: Big Island
High School: Kamehameha Schools
Institute when accepted: Seattle University
Akamai Project: An Upgrade for the UH 88-inch Telescope Mirror-Cover Actuator System
Project Site: Institute for Astronomy, Hilo
Mentors: Marc Cotter, Colin Aspin
The UH Institute for Astronomy (IfA) would like to upgrade the primary-mirror cover system on their 88-inch Telescope. Covers on the mirror are necessary to keep dust and other particulates in the air from falling on the mirror and degrading astronomical images. The current cover system is made up of eight triangular segments, all driven by separate motors, that meet at the center of the mirror when closed, and fold away from the mirror when open. It was designed and installed 40 years ago and has since stopped being effective. Through the use of modern materials and engineering tools, we were able to design, fabricate, and test a new mirror-cover actuator prototype for one triangular cover segment that will hopefully last another 40 years. There were many constraints for the new design, including weight, effectiveness, and size. As a result, we considered a few different designs until we found one that would be effective and satisfy all the design criteria. The final prototype weighs approximately 45 lb, a 42% decrease in weight, while still being functional and reliable.