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Astronomy Series: Jerry Martin on Maintaining the Hobby-Eberly Telescope

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Jerry Martin and his team of technicians clean the mirror of the Hobby-Eberly Telescope by spraying it with CO2. (Ian Lewis/KRTS)

In this encore episode of our Astronomy Series, Ian Lewis speaks with Jerry Martin, the lead technician of the mirror facility and coating lab at the McDonald Observatory, who gives a behind the scenes look at how he and his team keep the observatory’s largest telescope in clean and working condition.

Jerry and his team of technicians demonstrate how they clean the primary mirror of the Hobby-Eberly Telescope with CO2, and later gives a tour of the mirror coating facility. Here, Jerry develops new coating mixtures for the mirrors, to allow for optimal light collection by the telescope. In addition, each of the 91 hexagonal mirrors that make up the telescope’s primary mirror are tested, cleaned, and re-coated in this facility when necessary.

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