We are pleased to announce that STFC have awarded a small capital grant to LJMU to develop a “Telescope Beam Simulator” (TBS) with the ability to support the development of instruments for both our current (LT) and future (NRT) telescopes. It will allow testing of the optical performance (image quality, vignetting, induced polarization) of developed imaging, spectroscopic and polarimetric instrumentation without the need to transport it to the telescope site and disrupt operations. This will lead to reduced development cost and time and improved quality for delivered instruments. In addition by exploiting the environmental test facilities of the LJMU/UoL Sensor City we will be able to test instrument performance in a simulated operating environment.
The TBS will have the ability to simulate point (<0.5 arcsec FWHM) and extended sources over a wide field (10 arcmin equivalent) at wavelengths from 3500 to 20000 Angstroms. It will have an adaptable set of mounting plates, back focal distance and continuously adjustable focal ratio (via an iris within the collimated beam) to simulate a wide variety of telescopes.