In November 2015 was successfully completed the project of the implementation of a new control system for the GTC dome shutters sited on La Palma island (Spain).
The Gran Telescopio CANARIAS (GTC) is currently the largest and one of the most advanced optical and infra-red telescopes in the world. Its primary mirror consists of 36 individual hexagonal segments that together act as a single mirror. The GTC has also a secondary mirror and a tertiary mirror. The telescope mount, a large mechanical, steel structure that holds the mirrors, allows rotational movements of the telescope along a horizontal and vertical axis. The telescope itself is enclosed by a huge dome that is opened and closed through an upper and a lower shutters. The control system of this two shutters has been the objective of this project.
With this project elevation restrictions must be no longer considered when planning observations at GTC because 89 degrees target required was reached with the upper dome shutter. It was necessary to replace existing motors with higher horsepower ones, to do some improvements in the mechanical installation and replace the electrical cabinet and the existing control system, being now based on Simotion and Sinamics (Siemens). The windscreen has been also completely subsituted and it’s now operative. This can be used in helping to maintain a better image quality under strong wind conditions.