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A Schiefspiegler toolkit

A Schiefspiegler toolkit
By: Arjan te Marvelde In the 1958 Sky Publishing publication (Bulletin A: Gleanings for ATMs), Anton Kutter presented a set of design guidelines for a two mirror type of tilted component telescope. This summary of the original article only covers the essential equations, necessary for deriving your own design. The strength of this 'Schiefspiegler toolkit' is that it quickly provides ball-park dimensions and performance of a design. This design can be tuned afterwards with a ray-tracing optical design program. In contrast with the original article, the toolkit starts with the general schiefspiegler design and subsequently derives the anastigmatic and coma-free cases. The general design presented in the original is catadioptic, with a spherical concave primary, a spherical convex secondary mirror and a planconvex lens in the final lightcone of the system. The original also describes some more exotic variations, using a warped or toroidal secondary or a more complex corrector lens, but these are not discussed in this summary. The complete toolkit has been programmed into a spreadsheet, which is available from the download page of this website.

Overview of the Schiefspiegler. Parameters: F 1 y1 y'1 1 ' e p p' Effective focal length Primary mirror focal length Primary mirror lightcone radius Primary mirror radius Primary mirror inclination Secondary offset Primary offset Mirror separation Primary residual cone length Effective cone length Variation-angle Residual astigmatism [rad] 2 y2 y'2 2 3 y3 y'3 3 s Focal plane inclination Secondary mirror focal length Secondary mirror lightcone radius Secondary mirror radius Secondary mirror inclination Corrector focal length Corrector lightcone radius Corrector lens radius Corrector inclination Corrector to secondary distance Residual coma [rad]

a1m Corrector to focus distance

The drawing suggests that the normal on the secondary vertex is parallel to the direction of incoming light, but this is only roughly the case. Also, the secondary will in general be larger than the width of the lightcone. The primary diameter and the lightcone diameter at the primary are approximately the same.

General equations
Before going into specific solutions of Schiefspieglers, the basic set of equations dictating the dimensions is given below. This set of equations can be used as a toolbox for calculating designs of this type of TCT.

Basic design parameters

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A Schiefspiegler toolkit

The basic dimensions are taken from the set of equations that describe a Cassegrain system. Starting from given values for F, 1 and y1 the following equations can be used to calculate the remaining values:


Primary residual cone length:

Mirror separation:

Effective cone length:

Secondary focal length:

Lightcone radius on the secondary:

Back focal length:

Focal ratio:

Secondary offset:

Primary inclination:

The parameter d represents the additional space required by larger secondary and tube diameter. Back focal length (b) can be taken smaller when construction allows, this improves correction while conserving tubelength.

Residual astigmatism
The equation for calculation of the residual astigmatism in the system consists of three parts, representing the three optical coponents of the system. For catoptic designs the third part (for the corrector lens) can be omitted (since 3 is infinite).


Residual coma
As for residual astigmatism, the equation for calculation of the residual coma consists of three parts representing the three optical coponents of the system. For catoptic designs the third part (for the corrector lens) can be omitted (since 3 is infinite).


Position of corrector lens

In case a correctorlens is used, the following formula determines its position:

where the differential effective cone length is given by:

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A Schiefspiegler toolkit

and the differential system focal length is given by:

Note that the term is the residual astigmatism of the two mirror system to be corrected! The parameters Fm and p'm for the system meridional focal length and effective cone length, can be substituted with the system values F and p' or (better) derived with:


Anastigmatic design
The anastigmatic design is optimized for zero astigmatism on the paraxial focus. Such anastigmatic designs can be constructed with apertures of up to 150mm. Larger apertures yield telescopes that are exceedingly long and impractical in their use. With the condition of zero astigmatism (=0) and omitting the term for the corrector lens, the following equation can derived from the equation of residual astigmatism:

When the focal lengths of both mirrors are equal, this equation simplifies to:

The primary offset parameter, essential for building the system, is given by:

Finally, the actual performance of the system is approximated with the formula for resiual coma (in radians), where the third term has been omitted:

The visible coma is approximately one third of this value. Some examples of anastigmatic designs, derived with these formulae (dimensions are in mm): 80mm F/20 F 1 2y'1 2 2y'2 e p' ' 1600 960 80 1000 40 540 700 59 136 4.7" 110mm F/25 2720 1620 110 1620 55 915 1185 81 185 2.5" 150mm F/20 3000 1800 150 1800 70 1013 1312 109 247 4.6" 150mm F/29 4300 2550 150 2720 70 1443 1867 109 259 1.7"

As can be seen, the paraxial residual coma decreases with decreasing focal ratio. That the focal ratio has to decrease with increasing primary diameter is due to the decreasing size of the airy disk. The visible coma is approximately 1/3 of what is calculated above, but even then the coma of the 150mm F/20 example is more than twice the theoretical resolution of a 150mm telescope. Off axis the values are worse, the magnitude of optical aberrations away from the optical axis should be examined with ray tracing methods. However a boundary approximation can be made when the angular radius of the desired field of view is added to/subtracted from the secondary inclination 2.

Coma-free design
By increasing 2, as compared to the anastigmatic design, the coma can be cancelled completely. Obviously this will go at the cost of increased astigmatism. The condition of coma-free design is derived from the equation for residual coma:

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A Schiefspiegler toolkit

The primary offset parameter, essential for building the system, is given by:

The residual astigmatism of this system is given by:

Astigmatism is more visible than coma, so for a telescope of equal dimensions preference should be given to the anastigmatic design. However the best overall images/Images, in a design using spherical mirrors and no corrector lens, will be obtained with 2 increased somewhat in the direction of zero coma.

Catadioptic design
The basis for the catadioptic design is also with 2 somewhere between the anastigmatic and coma free boundary cases. The residual aberrations can then almost be eliminated by using an inclined plan-convex lens with the flat side facing the secondary mirror. According to A. Kutter, the proper value for 2 is obtained by, starting with the coma-free case and decreasing ' to approximately 80%, so that the values of the paraxial residual aberrations ( and ) are reduced to half of those in the boundary cases. The plan-convex lens that should be used has a focal length of approximately:

This value is not very critical, but will determine the inclination at which it should be used. In a practical application the inclination and position along the optical path and in sagittal direction should be adjustable, to be able to fine-tune the correction. The radius of the lightcone at the corrector lens is determined as follows:

Once all telescope dimensions are calculated, including the position of the corrector lens, the corrector inclination 3 can be derived from the equations for residual astigmatism and coma, setting and equal to 0. Finally, the required radius of the corrector lens follows from:

Example calculation
So let's design an anastigmatic F/23 Kutter telescope, with an effective focal length of 3000mm. It's 32mm field of view corresponds with 0.6 (slightly larger than the moon): a field lens of 26mm diameter will give about half a degree. From the magnification factor value of 5/3 the primary focal length can be calculated: 1800mm. The secondary focal length can be taken identical, and its' diameter can be estimated to be roughly half of the primary diameter. This value is rounded up to allow for some constructional play (aiming at using a standard rainpipe...): 75mm. With the set of basic equations the design parameters are derived in the following order: Effective focal length (F) 3500 mm Primary focal length (f1) Primary diameter (2y'1) Secondary focal length (f2) Secondary diameter (2y'2) Magnification (A) Back Focal Length (b) Residual primary cone length (p) Mirror separation (e) Secondary cone radius (y2) Effective cone length (p') 2100 mm 130 mm 2100 mm 75 mm 1.667 X 200 mm 863 mm 1238 mm 26.7 mm 1438 mm

Then, applying the equations for the anastigmatic design, the final parameters follow: Mirror offset () 103 mm Primary inclination (1) Secondary inclination (2) Primary offset (') 2.376 5.792 249 mm

The paraxial residual coma can now be calculated: 2.1". Between the extremities of the field of view in sagittal direction, residual coma ranges from 2.3" to 1.9", while the residual astigmatism ranges from 1.1 to -1.1". The visible coma will be approximately 0.7". For comparison, the airy disk for an aperture of 130mm and 550nm light has a diameter of about 2.1". After tuning the design in MODAS, with the following parameters: Surface# 1:Obj Type SPHRSURF Height 65 Radius -4200 Eccentricity 0 Thickness 0 Glass AIR Tilt-X 2.376 Tilt-Y 0 Tilt-Z 0

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A Schiefspiegler toolkit

2:MST 3:Img


35 15

-4200 0

0 0

-1239 1459


-5.792 0

0 0

0 0

The resulting spot diagram:

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