Expected accuracy of tilt measurements on a novel hexapod-based Digital zenith camera system: A Monte-Carlo simulation study
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This is an author-created, un-copyedited version of an article accepted for publication in Measurement Science and Technology. The publisher is not responsible for any errors or omissions in this version of the manuscript or any version derived from it. The Version of Record is available online at http://doi.org/10.1088/0957-0233/25/8/085004
Digital zenith camera systems (DZCS) are dedicated astronomical-geodetic measurement systems for the observation of the direction of the plumb line. A DZCS key component is a pair of tilt meters for the determination of the instrumental tilt with respect to the plumb line. Highest accuracy (i.e., 0.1 arc-seconds or better) is achieved in practice through observation with precision tilt meters in opposite faces (180° instrumental rotation), and application of rigorous tilt reduction models. A novel concept proposes the development of a hexapod (Stewart platform)-based DZCS. However, hexapod-based total rotations are limited to about 30°–60° in azimuth (equivalent to ±15° to ±30° yaw rotation), which raises the question of the impact of the rotation angle between the two faces on the accuracy of the tilt measurement. The goal of the present study is the investigation of the expected accuracy of tilt measurements to be carried out on future hexapod-based DZCS, with special focus placed on the role of the limited rotation angle. A Monte-Carlo simulation study is carried out in order to derive accuracy estimates for the tilt determination as a function of several input parameters, and the results are validated against analytical error propagation.As the main result of the study, limitation of the instrumental rotation to 60° (30°) deteriorates the tilt accuracy by a factor of about 2 (4) compared to a 180° rotation between the faces. Nonetheless, a tilt accuracy at the 0.1 arc-second level is expected when the rotation is at least 45°, and 0.05 arc-second (about 0.25 microradian) accurate tilt meters are deployed. As such, a hexapod-based DZCS can be expected to allow sufficiently accurate determination of the instrumental tilt. This provides supporting evidence for the feasibility of such a novel instrumentation. The outcomes of our study are not only relevant to the field of DZCS, but also to all other types of instruments where the instrumental tilt must be corrected. Examples include electronic theodolites or total stations, gravity meters, and other hexapod-based telescopes.
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