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Masters Presentation: The Hercules Mount: Shouldering the Weight of the Argus Array Technology Demonstrator

September 23 @ 9:30 am - 10:30 am

As technological improvements continue to lower manufacturing costs, astrographic telescopes and cameras are becoming cheaper and more accessible to a wider community. The Argus Optical Array (AOA) capitalizes on these advances to create an all-sky, high-cadence telescope array with arcsecond-resolution and a cost in the $20M range. The completed array will have a 5-m class collecting area consisting of over 900 individual telescopes observing the entire Northern sky simultaneously at a 1-minute cadence (and capable of observing at second-timescales). The Argus Array Technology Demonstrator (A2TD) enables the investigation of the performance of telescopes, cameras, climate control, precision tracking and pointing systems for inclusion in the completed AOA. It consists of nine 8-inch telescopes under a hemispherical enclosure mounted onto the Hercules Mount, a semi-rigid, equatorial mount. The mount adjusts its polar axis alignment via two high-precision linear actuators while supporting a load of over 180 kg including counterweights. The dome is decoupled from the platform containing the telescopes to minimize the effect of windshake during observations. Sidereal tracking is performed by two linear actuators which connect to the outer dome and the telescope platform separately and track synchronously at arcsecond precision. The Hercules mount was constructed from a combination of low-cost commodity materials, with only three key components requiring precision CNC machining. Systems tested on the Hercules Mount will scale or transfer directly to the next instrument in the Argus series of prototypes: Argus Pathfinder. Here we present on-sky results of the Hercules Mount and our plans for the next generation of Argus prototypes.

The presentation will be hybrid – in person and on Zoom.
Location: Phillips Hall 277
Zoom link:

Meeting Id: 943 9330 8111

Passcode: 476004



September 23
9:30 am - 10:30 am


Phillips 277