PDA

View Full Version : Canada's Space Telescope



The Supreme Canuck
2003-Jun-25, 06:20 PM
http://www.space.gc.ca/asc/eng/csa_sectors/space_science/astronomy/most.asp

Just found out that Canada is due to launch the worlds smallest (!) space satellite on June 30th. It's supposed to measure the intensity and age of stars. Just goes to show that you can still do stuff like this with a miniscule budget!

Grand Vizier
2003-Jun-25, 06:52 PM
Actually that Rokot launcher carries nine payloads, some of which weigh less than a kilo. And two of them are Canadian. One is this Cubesat:

http://www.utias-sfl.net/code/cubesats/

which might be (I'm not sure) the smallest satellite ever (in the sense of being a unified payload - not a fragment). The other is MOST, the astroseismology mission you linked to. At 66kg that is not the smallest satellite ever, but I believe it is the smallest space telescope ever.

I'm being picky - but it does mean that Canada may pick up two records there. Nice one - Go, Canada! :)

The Supreme Canuck
2003-Jun-25, 06:56 PM
Yeah, I read about the Cubesat, but once I read :"The first mission, CanX-1, will launch in late 2002" I figured it was either already up there or got cancelled somehow. Anyway, it looks like small is the way to go!

Grand Vizier
2003-Jun-25, 07:28 PM
Yeah, I read about the Cubesat, but once I read :"The first mission, CanX-1, will launch in late 2002" I figured it was either already up there or got cancelled somehow. Anyway, it looks like small is the way to go!

I think so. A little while back there was much talk of picoprobes - for example, you just load up a big can full of them and fire it out to the asteroid belt to do a really thorough survey (the main bus dispenses them at roughly useful places in its orbit, and they make their own way from there on).

Thing is, it's evident that the trend in instrumentation is towards increasing miniaturisation, but I don't know if anyone's got any well-developed ideas as to how to get propulsion systems down that small - I'd envisage teeny-tiny ion drives of some sort might be handy. And then there's attitude control to be considered if you want any sort of imaging capability...

The Supreme Canuck
2003-Jun-25, 08:14 PM
Yeah. Not much space for fuel is there...

Grand Vizier
2003-Jun-25, 08:30 PM
Yeah. Not much space for fuel is there...

Solar sails, maybe - if you can get them way thin. Maybe you could also use them as control surfaces for attitude, though manoeuvres would be slow (I believe this was actually achieved with little extra control tabs on Mariner 10).

Power sub-systems shouldn't be a problem - that CubeSat is running on 2 watts. I don't know what you do about antenna size, though - my understanding is that if you want high bandwidth you really need a big antenna. I think what we'd have to do is 'wire up' the whole solar system. We need lots of these things so they can act as distributed relay stations or servers - perhaps with the use of larger probes as relays too, such as we have already happening at Mars.

Lots of hand-waving there :)

Beaver
2003-Jun-25, 10:57 PM
Supreme Canuck you have to keep up the posts on Canadiana, as long as Diefenbaker is not around we can make it :wink:

The Supreme Canuck
2003-Jun-26, 02:56 AM
Beaver: Don't encourage me! :wink:

Back On Topic: If you need a bigger transmitter in such a small object, just use the frame of the thing as a transciever. (I assume it would be made of metal, but I could be wrong). And solar sails? We all know how I feel about them. :D (Love' em!)

ToSeek
2003-Aug-25, 05:52 PM
First light (http://www.space.gc.ca/asc/eng/media/press_room/news_releases/2003/030804.asp)

Donnie B.
2003-Aug-25, 06:27 PM
Hmmm, micropropulsion systems...

I wonder if you could use a variation on ink-jet printing technology: a reservoir of fuel that's melted, heated, and expelled at high velocity through a tiny orifice.

Ad astra per bubblejet?

[Corrected some atrocious Latin misspellings]

The Supreme Canuck
2003-Aug-25, 07:42 PM
Hey, cool! I want to see those pictures, but they aren't up yet, as far as I can tell. You can send away for them from Canapress, though...

mike alexander
2003-Aug-26, 06:50 PM
donnieb wrote:
Hmmm, micropropulsion systems...

I wonder if you could use a variation on ink-jet printing technology: a reservoir of fuel that's melted, heated, and expelled at high velocity through a tiny orifice.


I think you would waste mass and energy that way. DeltaV. Why not a xenon microion engine for thrust? You could also tap the xenon tank for gas attitude control (I'm asssuming gyros would weigh too much or take too much power, and that a radioisotpoe battery also has too much mass).

Geez, wouldn't it be nice if we had some big, cheap boosters so we wouldn't need to think about every gram?

Nanoda
2003-Aug-26, 07:27 PM
I've read that one can make "thrusters" by having... I guess electromagnets? ... on board that interact with the earth's magnetic field. If your sat' is too small for a fuel source, I think this would be the way to go.

It seems to me that this could possibly give you three degrees of rotational freedom, but I don't see how this could boost your orbit. Anyone else heard of this?

daver
2003-Aug-27, 11:58 PM
I've read that one can make "thrusters" by having... I guess electromagnets? ... on board that interact with the earth's magnetic field. If your sat' is too small for a fuel source, I think this would be the way to go.

It seems to me that this could possibly give you three degrees of rotational freedom, but I don't see how this could boost your orbit. Anyone else heard of this?

Yeah, i've heard of it. My understanding is that it's not too accurate, that it's used more to unload the reaction wheels.

ToSeek
2004-Jun-29, 04:01 PM
CANADA'S FIRST SPACE TELESCOPE TAKES THE PULSE OF ONE STAR; SEES ACNE AND HYPERACTIVITY IN ANOTHER (http://www.astro.ubc.ca/MOST/milestones/June2004_2.html)


"MOST is a major advance in the way astronomers study stars, made possible by innovative Canadian technology," noted Canadian Space Agency President, Dr. Marc Garneau. "It is the world's most precise light meter, capable of recording variations as small as one ten thousandth of a percent in the brightness of a star." How small is that? "If all the lights in all the offices of the Empire State Building were on at night," explains Dr. Garneau, "you could dim the total light by 1/10,000th of a percent if you pulled down just one window blind by only 1 centimetre."

ToSeek
2004-Jun-29, 04:03 PM
I've read that one can make "thrusters" by having... I guess electromagnets? ... on board that interact with the earth's magnetic field. If your sat' is too small for a fuel source, I think this would be the way to go.

It seems to me that this could possibly give you three degrees of rotational freedom, but I don't see how this could boost your orbit. Anyone else heard of this?

Yeah, i've heard of it. My understanding is that it's not too accurate, that it's used more to unload the reaction wheels.

Just noticed this. Most spacecraft in Earth orbit have magnetic torque rods. They're used to control rotation at a coarse level, or, as daver notes, to allow the reaction wheels to spin down and not overload.

ToSeek
2004-Jul-02, 03:56 PM
New Observations of Procyon Defy Expectations (http://www.universetoday.com/am/publish/new_observations_procyon.html?172004)


New observations of Procyon from MOST, Canada's space telescope, have called long-held assumptions about the star into doubt. Launched a year ago, MOST watched Procyon 8-times a minute, making a total of 250,000 observations over the course of 32 days. It found that the star is completely stable, and doesn't pulsate or vibrate in any way. This challenges 20 years of speculation that Procyon does vibrate, and could reveal insights about its interior - astronomers will need to find a new candidate.

Swift
2004-Jul-02, 08:51 PM
Looks like they are getting the most out of the satellite.

ToSeek
2004-Jul-07, 04:26 PM
Astronomers marvel over Canada's eye on stars (http://www.globeandmail.com/servlet/story/RTGAM.20040705.wastro0705/BNStory/specialScienceandHealth/)


Canada's tiny, bargain-basement space telescope is celebrating its first anniversary in orbit by shaking up the astronomy world with a new finding that suggests we may have to revise dramatically our basic understanding of the physics of stars.

The MOST telescope has failed to find any signs of starquakes, as they are colloquially known, inside the star Procyon.

Swift
2004-Jul-07, 04:53 PM
Astronomers marvel over Canada's eye on stars (http://www.globeandmail.com/servlet/story/RTGAM.20040705.wastro0705/BNStory/specialScienceandHealth/)


Canada's tiny, bargain-basement space telescope is celebrating its first anniversary in orbit by shaking up the astronomy world with a new finding that suggests we may have to revise dramatically our basic understanding of the physics of stars.

The MOST telescope has failed to find any signs of starquakes, as they are colloquially known, inside the star Procyon.

At first they thought something was wonky with their processing of the data.
"Wonky" :D That just tickles my fancy. Next report on data analysis, I'll have to use wonky.

They then aimed MOST at a star called Eta Boolis. This time they got a clear signal of a starquake.
So its something about Procyon, not the technique or stars in general. Very curious.

ToSeek
2004-Jul-07, 05:41 PM
"Wonky" :D That just tickles my fancy. Next report on data analysis, I'll have to use wonky.

It's obviously a term of art, so you should be careful to use it correctly. ;)

Kebsis
2004-Jul-07, 07:48 PM
And then there's attitude control to be considered if you want any sort of imaging capability...

Yeah, ya definetly have to keep them in line, or else they start thinking they're better than you.

ToSeek
2004-Aug-06, 03:53 PM
Stellar Vibrations Missing (http://skyandtelescope.com/news/article_1318_1.asp)


Regardless of who is right about the precise figure, the MOST results reinforce one conclusion reached by radial-velocity studies: theories of stellar oscillations are seriously out of whack. The theories say a star like Procyon should exhibit brightness variations amounting to 60 parts per million, which is completely at odds with direct measurements from MOST and estimates from radial-velocity measurements.

ToSeek
2005-May-17, 05:07 PM
Canadian satellite plays hide and seek with exoplanet (http://www.spaceflightnow.com/news/n0505/16most/)


MOST, Canada's first space telescope, has turned up an important clue about the atmosphere and cloud cover of a mysterious planet around another star, by playing a cosmic game of 'hide and seek' as that planet moves behind its parent star in its orbit.

---

'Tail wagging dog' seen in star-exoplanet system (http://www.spaceflightnow.com/news/n0505/16planetary/)


Canadian astronomers using the MOST space telescope have observed a remarkable planetary system where a giant close-in planet is forcing its parent star to rotate in lock-step with the planet's orbit.

ToSeek
2005-Jun-30, 04:54 PM
Two years of amazing discoveries for Canada's "Humble Space Telescope" (http://www.spaceref.com/news/viewpr.html?pid=17299)


Soon after its launch two years ago by the Canadian Space Agency (CSA), Canada's "Humble Space Telescope" started making amazing observations-beyond the capacity of any other Earth- or space-based instrument. MOST, our suitcase-sized space telescope orbiting at 820 km, can fix its gaze upon a single star for up to eight weeks at a time. And with its unique combination of steady observation time and precision pointing, MOST can look for subtle variations in stars that are impossible to observe from Earth.

ToSeek
2005-Jul-18, 03:47 PM
The Humble Space Telescope (http://www.astrobio.net/news/modules.php?op=modload&name=News&file=article&sid= 1649&mode=thread&order=0&thold=0)


Canada's MOST telescope, no larger than a suitcase, has been dubbed "the humble space telescope." But despite its diminutive size, it has already begun to make a giant contribution to our understanding of extrasolar planets.

Manchurian Taikonaut
2005-Jul-18, 11:17 PM
Looks like they are getting the most out of the satellite.


Some background info on this one

http://www.spacedaily.com/news/telescopes-03m.html
http://www.space.gc.ca/asc/eng/apogee/2003/07_most.asp

MOST (which stands for "Microvariability & Oscillations of STars") will be Canada's first space telescope. Innovative Canadian technology has allowed the scientists to pack this telescope in a microsatellite the size and mass of a suitcase.
Despite its modest dimensions, MOST will make specialized observations beyond the capacity of any other instrument, including the Hubble Space Telescope. MOST will probe the interior of stars, set a limit on the age of the Universe, and for the first time, detect the light reflected by mysterious planets beyond our Solar System.


The astounding capabilities of MOST will be used to measure the vibrations, or oscillations, of stars. "The Sun, a star that we know well, does not always shine the same way," explains Mr Torchinsky. "Changes in luminosity happen regularly. It is like a bell that rings and emits acoustic vibrations. The larger the bell, the lower its tone. In the same way, the bigger the star, the longer the vibration. MOST therefore makes it possible to study the fundamental vibrations of stars and their harmonics - their various frequencies - and compare them to those of the Sun."
The study of asteroseismology therefore provides us with data - such as the density of the star and the pressure of its surface layers - which we can use, along with the star's temperature and mass, to determine that star's age.

The Supreme Canuck
2005-Jul-18, 11:26 PM
As measured by MOST:


The strongest eight acoustic frequencies detected by MOST in eta Bootis, scaled up a few octaves.

http://www.astro.ubc.ca/MOST/audio/etaBootis.mp3

Launch window
2006-Feb-14, 09:59 AM
January 20th, 2006
The very first scientific observations ever made by MOST, during the satellite's commissioning in October 2003, will appear in an article in the Astrophysical Journal. During engineering tests, the MOST team trained the space telescope on what they thought was a fairly simple, even boring, star: delta Ceti. This was believed to be one of the few single-periodic beta Cephei pulsators, and its monotonic signal was deemed a good choice to calibrate the early MOST measurements. A detailed analysis of the delta Ceti photometry led by Dr. Conny Aerts, of the Instituut voor Sterrenkunde in Leuven, Belgium, in partnership with the MOST Science Team, has shown that delta Ceti isn't monotonic, and hence, isn't quite as boring as many astronomers believed.
http://www.astro.ubc.ca/MOST/galleries.html
The MOST data reveal multiple oscillations frequencies which lead to a seismic model of this massive evolved star, only the third beta Cephei star for which this has been accomplished - despite the fact that the the class was discovered about a century ago and there are now a few hundred known variables and candidates. The raw data and reduced light curve for the delta Ceti analysis are now available on the MOST Public Data Archive.

Kullat Nunu
2006-Feb-14, 10:02 AM
There really should be many more MOST-type missions.

The Supreme Canuck
2006-Feb-14, 07:54 PM
Small, cheap, and useful? It'll never happen again, unfortunately.