Basque engineering firm Idom has symbolically handed over the dome structure it has built for the world’s largest solar telescope. Its final destination is Maui, in Hawaii. The dome that is to protect this telescope has been fabricated in Basauri in a project led by Idom, which involved eight companies, mostly in the Basque country, but also in Burgos, Germany and the United Kingdom.
The dome, a large mobile structure measuring 27 meters in diameter and 22 meters in height, provides the telescope with an unobstructed image of the Sun and, at the same time, protects all components except the primary mirror, which is 4 meters in diameter, from solar radiation.
The project is promoted by the US National Solar Observatory and the telescope will be installed at the Haleakala Observatory on the island of Maui in Hawaii. The combination of its large size and the innovative technologies it incorporates will enable the Sun to be observed with an unprecedented capability for astronomical research, plasma physics and the relations between Sun and Earth.
Idom was commissioned to perform the dome project by AURA (Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy) a consortium of 39 American institutions and six international subsidiaries that operates several astronomical observatories worldwide.
The Basque engineering firm Idom led the construction of the dome structure or enclosure for the solar telescope, a project in which the following companies also took part: Gometegui (Llodio, Araba), Hilfa (Basauri, Bizkaia), Talleres Aratz (Vitoria), Mondragón Sistemas (Andoain, Gipuzkoa), Kabelschelepp (Germany), Emetal (Pamplona), Strunor (Burgos) and Observatory Sciences (United Kingdom).
After working on preliminary designs and details of the dome for the European Extremely Large Telescope (E-ELT), Idom now forms part of a consortium competing in the contest to create its dome and main structure.