Novel Back-coated Glass Mirrors for the MAGIC Telescopes
2019 July 22
The mirrors installed on Imaging Atmospheric Cherenkov Telescopes like the MAGIC telescopes in La Palma, Canary Islands, are constantly exposed to the harsh environment. They have to withstand wind-induced corrosion from dust and sand, changing temperatures, and rain. Because of the size of the telescope, protecting the structure with a dome is not practical. The current mirrors used in MAGIC are aluminum front-coated glass mirrors, covered by a thin quartz layer. But even with this protective layer, significant decrease in reflectivity can be seen on timescales of several years. The quartz layer is very delicate and can be easily scratched or damaged, which also makes cleaning the mirrors almost impossible. We have tested a novel design of glass mirrors that can be easily cleaned and should show almost no degradation in reflectivity due to environmental influences. The protective layer is a ultra-thin glass sheet which is back-coated with aluminum, making it possible to simply wipe the mirror with household cleaning tools. In this contribution we will present results from laboratory tests of reflectivity and focusing properties of prototype mirrors, as well as long-term tests on-site at the MAGIC telescopes. We will also outline plans for exchanging a large fraction of MAGIC mirrors with this novel design, guaranteeing a peak performance of MAGIC for the coming years.