A Robot Builds a Telescope

A Robot Builds a Telescope

This video features the Two Degree Field (2dF) Robot building some unique designs with optical fibres!

The 2dF Robot picks up and accurately places 400 optical fibres in the exact locations where light from stars and galaxies will land in the field of view of the 4-metre Anglo-Australian Telescope (AAT). 2dF is the most complex astronomical instrument operating on the AAT, and has seen a series of upgrades and improvements over its 20 years of operations.  

Astronomers calculate the exact positions for the robot to place optical fibres based on known positions of stars and galaxies in the direction the telescope will be pointing. The astronomers then use special software to design specific configurations of the fibres which the robot reads.  Since 2dF has two field plates, one positioned field collects observations while the other plate is configured by the robot.  After one field is successfully observed, the plates rotate and observations begin on the new field while the next gets reconfigured.  

The plate designs for the telescope and the AAO logo were created and filmed by AAO Astronomer Dr Andy Green.  

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