Wind loading analysis and strategy for deflection reduction on HET wide field upgrade
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Wind loading can be a detrimental source of vibration and deflection for any large terrestrial optical telescope. The Hobby-Eberly Telescope* (HET) in the Davis Mountains of West Texas is undergoing a Wide Field Upgrade (WFU) in support of the Dark Energy Experiment‡ (HETDEX) that will greatly increase the size of the instrumentation subjected to operating wind speeds of up to 20.1 m/s (45 mph). A non-trivial consideration for this telescope (or others) is to quantify the wind loads and resulting deflections of telescope structures induced under normal operating conditions so that appropriate design changes can be made. A quasi-static computational fluid dynamics (CFD) model was generated using wind speeds collected on-site as inputs to characterize dynamic wind forces on telescope structures under various conditions. The CFD model was refined until predicted wind speed and direction inside the dome agreed with experimental data. The dynamic wind forces were then used in static loading analysis to determine maximum deflections under typical operating conditions. This approach also allows for exploration of operating parameters without impact to the observation schedule of the telescope. With optimum combinations of parameters (i.e. dome orientation, tracker position, and louver deployment), deflections due to current wind conditions can be significantly reduced. Furthermore, the upper limit for operating wind speed could be increased, provided these parameters are monitored closely. This translates into increased image quality and observing time.