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Proceedings Paper

Characterizing Point Spread Function (PSF) fluctuations to improve Resident Space Object detection (RSO)
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Paper Abstract

This research paper deals with methods for improving the performance of Electro-optical detection systems designed to find Resident Space Objects (RSOs). Some methods for detecting RSOs rely on accurate knowledge of the system Point Spread Function (PSF). The PSF is a function of the telescope optics, the atmosphere, and other factors including object intensity and noise present in the system. Due to the random photon arrival times, any observed data will contain Poisson noise. Assuming that other noise sources such as dark current and readout noise do not contribute significantly, the final source of intensity fluctuations in the data is the atmosphere. To quantify these fluctuations, an optical model of a telescope system is developed, and its PSF is simulated. In a long exposure image, the effects of the atmosphere are well characterized with the long exposure atmosphere Optical Transfer Function (OTF). In contrast, a short exposure image does not average the fluctuations as effectively. To model the atmosphere, random phase screens with Kolmogorov statistics are added to the optical model to observe PSF fluctuations in short exposure telescope data. The distribution of the peak intensity is analyzed for varying exposure times and atmospheric turbulence strengths. This distribution is combined with the Poisson random arrival times of photons to create a combined model for received data, which is then used to design a new detection algorithm. The performance of the new space object detection algorithm will be compared to a traditional algorithm using simulated telescope data.

Paper Details

Date Published: 22 May 2015
PDF: 10 pages
Proc. SPIE 9469, Sensors and Systems for Space Applications VIII, 946904 (22 May 2015); doi: 10.1117/12.2177080
Show Author Affiliations
Tyler J. Hardy, Air Force Institute of Technology (United States)
Stephen C. Cain, Air Force Institute of Technology (United States)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 9469:
Sensors and Systems for Space Applications VIII
Khanh D. Pham; Genshe Chen, Editor(s)

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