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The Zimmerwald Laser and Astrometric Telescope (ZIMLAT) is the most versatile instrument of the Swiss Optical Ground Station and Geodynamics Observatory Zimmerwald (SwissOGS). The telescope hosts both, the Satellite Laser Ranging (SLR) system, and the astronomical cameras used for the observation and the characterization of space debris objects. Until now, the ANDOR NEO 5.5 sCMOS camera was mainly used for the characterization of space debris by acquiring high-resolution light curves. In this presentation, we will show the results achieved by the recently extended use of the sCMOS camera to different astronomical research fields.
First, we will describe the integration of the sCMOS camera in the SLR system as tracking camera. Then we will show how, by using the camera, we could improve the performances of the SLR system. The tracking camera in fact allows us to correct in real time the pointing of the telescope, thus helping us to overcome the limit given by the small field of view of the SLR system by shortening the target acquisition time. The correction of the telescope pointing allows us to measure, via SLR, the distance to the observed objects. At the same time, the camera provides simultaneously angular and brightness information, which can be merged with the ranges, for both, the orbit, and the attitude determination of the observed object. This feature becomes fundamental for space debris research. Finally, we will show the results produced by the camera during daytime and its application in the field of Near Earth Asteroids.
This study analyses only real measurements (both angular and ranges) gathered for defunct satellite using the night-tracking camera of the ZIMLAT telescope of the SwissOGS, owned by the Astronomical Institute of the University of Bern (AIUB).
Using CMOS camera in different astronomical research fields.
Demonstrating the innovation in space debris orbit and attitude determination due to camera technology.
Discovering unusual astronomical use cases for the camera.