Pendular seismometer for correcting telescope vibrations


★ E-mail:† Present address: European Southern Observatory, Karl Schwarzschild Straße, 2, D-85748 Garching bei München, Germany.


Vibrations of telescopes can be successfully corrected in real time using a seismometer as an inertial reference. A prototype pendular seismometer is described that is suitable for angular vibration measurements at frequencies from a few tenths to several tens of Hz. The average pendulum position is maintained by a slow servo system that also damps its resonance. The prototype instrument has an rms noise of 3 milliarcsec in the 0–25-Hz band. It was tested on a 1-m telescope, and a good agreement of the seismometer signal with the direct optical measurements of the optical axis fluctuations of the telescope was found. A frequency response of the seismometer is studied, an expression for the rms amplitude of residual (uncompensated) vibrations is given. In space applications it is suggested that a pendular mirror in front of the telescope is used as an inertial reference for vibration correction.