The Walter Baade Telescope is the first of the twin 6.5 meter Magellan telescopes to be completed. The two telescopes are located 60 meters apart on an isolated peak (Cerro Manqui) at the Las Campanas Observatory. The telescopes are an alt-azimuth design. The principal foci are f/11 at the two Nasmyth locations and f/15 in the Cassegrain position, although at present only the f/11 focus is implemented on the Baade Telescope. In addition, three auxiliary f/11 are provided on the center section. An ADC corrector will be available for f/11 use to provide unvignetted fields up to 24 arcmin. Platforms on either side provide access to the instruments at the principal Nasmyth ports.
The Magellan primary mirrors were cast and polished by the Steward Observatory Mirror Lab. The mirrors are made of borosilicate glass with a lightweight honeycomb structure.
The f/11 focus is a Gregorian configuration, which was selected in order to optimize the performance of the collimator optics in the wide-field spectrograph (IMACS) currently under construction. The Gregorian secondary is also considerably less aspheric than the corresponding Cassegrain secondary, and is easier to test.
The telescope and enclosure are designed to minimize image degradation due to thermal effects. Separate ventilation systems for the enclosure, telescope structure, and primary mirror maintain surfaces within the dome at the outside air temperature during night time observing.
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