2016.B.2.3. An Ultraviolet imager on a CubeSat for astronomical transient studies


Joice Mathew (1)

  1. Indian Institute of Astrophysics, India




UV Astronomy, Transient Studies, Instrumentation, Cubesat Payload


Ultraviolet (UV) domain plays a vital role in the studies of astronomical transient events but the UV time domain sky is largely unexplored. So we have designed a wide-field UV imager for UV transient studies which can be fit in a 6 U CubeSat for a LEO (Low Earth Orbit) mission. The major scientific goals are to study the variability of astronomical sources,  detection of transients such as supernovae, novae, tidal disruption events and AGN variability. The instrument has a 75 mm aperture with a circular field of view of 11 degree and the observation window is 260 nm – 340 nm. The detector for the instrument is a Micro Channel Plate (MCP) based detector with photon counting capability. An FPGA based detector readout mechanism and real time data processing has been implemented . The telescope is designed in such a way that it’s lightweight and compact nature is well fitted for a CubeSat dimension.

The transient survey with the proposed imager will have an overlap in time with other ongoing and planned astronomical facilities for transient studies, such as LSST, LIGO etc. In this paper we elaborate on the scientific potential of the proposed CubeSat based wide-field UV transient imager and the instrumentation (opto-mechanical design and interface, detector readout, electronics module etc.) involved. Our sophisticated design provides a low cost implementation of the proposed payload.


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