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ASD Colloquium Series



The SkyHopper Space Telescope: Big Science with a Tiny Telescope
Michele Trenti (University of Melbourne)

Orbiting telescopes, large or small, have been so far primarily confined to complex missions run by government agencies. However, thanks to dramatic technological improvements, CubeSats (nano-satellites based on standardised dimensions) are now offering new scientific opportunities. In this talk I will review the status of the field and discuss how observations from space will advance astronomy in the next decade. Within this context, I'll introduce the SkyHopper mission concept, a 12U (~21kg) CubeSat with a 15cm-aperture infrared space telescope being designed in Australia for a 2023 launch. SkyHopper will carry an actively-cooled four-channel camera covering the spectral range from 0.8 to 1.7 micron simultaneously, and be capable of re-pointing to new targets within two minutes thanks to satellite phone network communications and rapid slew. The combination of timeliness on target and low-noise infrared image quality from space will offer a facility unique in the world to complement larger missions in multiple areas of astronomy such as TESS and Swift. In particular, SkyHopper will contribute to the discovery of potentially habitable Earth-size planets around nearby cool stars and to the prompt characterisation of the photometric redshift of gamma ray burst afterglows generated by the explosion of massive stars out to the edge of the observable Universe.

The Astrophysics Science Division colloquia occur on Tuesdays at 3:45 pm, with an opportunity to meet the speaker at 3:30 pm, in building 34, room W150 (unless otherwise noted).

Date December 10, 2019
Start/End Time 03:45 PM - 05:00 PM
Location Building 34, Room W150
Contact Knicole Colon
Email Address
Event Type Seminars/Colloquia
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