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Proceedings Paper

Analysis of stellar radiance contamination in observed satellite spectra
Author(s): R. Anthony Vincent; Francis K. Chun; Michael E. Dearborn; Roger D. Tippets
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Paper Abstract

Reflectance spectra of Earth orbiting satellites can be readily observed with small diameter telescopes (D < 1 m) by utilizing a method known as slitless spectroscopy. Satellite spectra can be observed by simply placing a transmission grating within the collimated optical path of the telescope without the need to image through a slit. The simplicity of the slitless spectroscopy design makes it a promising alternative to spatially resolving satellites with larger and more expensive diameter telescopes for applications of space situational awareness. However, accurately observing satellite re ectance spectra without imaging through a slit requires a dark and homogeneous background. This requirement is frequently violated as background stars streak across the image due to the slewing motion of the telescope during satellite tracking. Rather than throwing out all images with noticeable stellar contamination, a principle component analysis of contaminated images from three geostationary satellite observations showed that it may still be possible to assess and identify satellite characteristics depending upon the amount of stellar contamination in the spectral region of interest. Additionally, a simple technique for automatic removal of contaminated frames is proposed based on an outlier analysis using Gaussian statistics and was found to successfully remove all signicantly contaminated frames.

Paper Details

Date Published: 24 September 2012
PDF: 10 pages
Proc. SPIE 8446, Ground-based and Airborne Instrumentation for Astronomy IV, 84464H (24 September 2012); doi: 10.1117/12.925415
Show Author Affiliations
R. Anthony Vincent, U.S. Air Force Academy (United States)
Francis K. Chun, U.S. Air Force Academy (United States)
Michael E. Dearborn, U.S. Air Force Academy (United States)
Roger D. Tippets, U.S. Air Force Academy (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 8446:
Ground-based and Airborne Instrumentation for Astronomy IV
Ian S. McLean; Suzanne K. Ramsay; Hideki Takami, Editor(s)

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