The LMT uses an ”on-the-fly” trajectory generator that receives as input the target location of the telescope and in turn outputs a commanded position to the servo system. The sun avoidance strategy is also implemented ”on-the-fly” where it intercepts the input to the trajectory generator and alters that input to avoid the sun. Two sun avoidance strategies were explored. The first strategy uses a potential field approach where the sun is represented as a high-potential obstacle in the telescope’s workspace and the target location is represented as a low-potential goal. The potential field is repeatedly calculated as the sun and the telescope move and the telescope follows the induced force by this field. The second strategy is based on path planning using visibility graphs where the sun is represented as a polygonal obstacle and the telescope follows the shortest path from its actual position to the target location via the vertices of the sun’s polygon.
The visibility graph approach was chosen as the favorable strategy due to the efficiency of its algorithm and the simplicity of its computation.