Presentation #232.02 in the session Instrumentation II.
The Wide field Infrared Kuiper belt and Exoplanet Explorer telescope (WIKEE) is a telescope system designed to be run in clusters to cover a greater area of sky in one session than possible with a single telescope. With visible light and infrared capabilities, these 0.7 meter telescopes are designed to be remotely operated and have the capabilities to find comets, asteroids, conduct surveys on red and brown dwarf stars, and assist in the exploration of exoplanets in the night sky.
During the beginning phase of the WIKEE project a small proof of concept telescope was designed and built. The goal of this step is to provide insight into the performance of a new style of direct drive stepper motor system and to explore the atmospheric limitations of wavelengths from 0.7-2.1 µm at possible observing sites. Supplying the groundwork for communication between telescopes in a cluster is what the small 90mm prototypes will excel in.
Follow up observations in astronomy are as important as the initial discovery. The WIKEE system is designed to be a low cost expendable secondary resource. The price of production was dramatically reduced with the development of the new motor system as well as the mount which is generative designed and can be made from 3-D printable materials. We believe that having a “hive” telescope could provide a sub 1-meter system with significant relevance in groundbreaking astronomical observations.