The task of aligning telescope optics can be extremely burdensome. Typically, it is an involved, manual task using a heuristic process that can take many days. Whether this task falls to the manufacturers while still in the factory or to the end user after installation, it remains onerous.
It would be hugely beneficial to use a software based procedure that can perform this alignment task autonomously – and this is exactly what researchers at the University of Oxford have achieved.
The current software contains an algorithm for automated alignment of telescope optics. The software can complete the alignment task in minutes within a factory setting. The cost of having a person manually perform this alignment is eliminated, and the manufacturer has a fully operable telescope ready for sale. Furthermore, it offers the possibility of automated alignment in space.
The software uses techniques related to procedures carried out in adaptive optics. It has been tested and validated in a university setting and is now being developed further to perform alignment using live images of the earth on board a satellite mission.
The software is ready for implementation or further co-development.