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The Smart Panoramic Optical Sensor Head (SPOSH) - A camera for observations of transient luminous events on planetary night sides

Oberst, J. and Flohrer, Joachim and Elgner, S. and Maue, T. and Margonis, A. and Schroedter, R. and Tost, Wilfried and Buhl, M. and Ehrich, J. and Christou, K. and Koschny, D. (2011) The Smart Panoramic Optical Sensor Head (SPOSH) - A camera for observations of transient luminous events on planetary night sides. Planetary and Space Science, 59, pp. 1-9. Elsevier Ltd.. DOI: 10.1016/j.pss.2010.09.016.

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Official URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0032063310002886


We have developed a camera dedicated to imaging faint transient noctilucent phenomena, such as aurorae, electric discharges, meteors or impact flashes, on dark planetary hemispheres. The SPOSH (Smart Panoramic Optical Sensor Head) is equipped with a back-illuminated 1024 x 1024 CCD chip E2V 47-20 with up to 90 % quantum efficiency and has a custom-made optical system of high light-gathering power with a wide field of view of 120 x 120º. Images can be obtained over extended periods at high rate to make monitoring for transient events possible. To reduce the data transmission rate, only those images (or relevant portions thereof) that contain events are returned to the user. The camera has a sophisticated processing unit prepared to interface with a spacecraft system, for image processing and event detection at rates of up to 3 images per second at full resolution. While software optimized for detection of any noctilucent phenomenon can be implemented, the software is currently optimized for the detection of meteors. Over the past years, we have routinely carried out outdoor tests with 4 camera breadboard units that demonstrate that the camera has excellent radiometric performance and geometric resolution at low light levels over its large field of view. The camera has been demonstrated to capture meteors of magnitudes as faint as +6 m moving at angular speeds of 5°/s. The camera opens up new science opportunities for planetary missions.

Document Type:Article
Title:The Smart Panoramic Optical Sensor Head (SPOSH) - A camera for observations of transient luminous events on planetary night sides
AuthorsInstitution or Email of Authors
Oberst, J.Juergen.Oberst@dlr.de
Flohrer, Joachimjoachim.flohrer@dlr.de
Elgner, S.stephan.elgner@dlr.de
Maue, T.Max-Planck Institute for Solar System Research
Margonis, A.anastasios.margonis@dlr.de
Schroedter, R. rolf.schroedter@dlr.de
Tost, Wilfriedwilfried.tost@dlr.de
Buhl, M.Technical Univ. Berlin, Inst. for Air and Space Technology
Ehrich, J.Jena-Optronik GmbH
Christou, K.Armagh Observatory, United Kingdom
Koschny, D.ESA/ESTEC Nordwijk, Netherlands
Date:January 2011
Journal or Publication Title:Planetary and Space Science
Refereed publication:Yes
In Open Access:No
In ISI Web of Science:Yes
Page Range:pp. 1-9
Publisher:Elsevier Ltd.
Keywords:camera, aurora, meteor, flash, sophisticated processing, outdoor tests, breadboard, wide angle, high sensitive, planetary missions
HGF - Research field:Aeronautics, Space and Transport (old)
HGF - Program:Space (old)
HGF - Program Themes:W EW - Erforschung des Weltraums
DLR - Research area:Space
DLR - Program:W EW - Erforschung des Weltraums
DLR - Research theme (Project):W - Explorationsstudien (old)
Location: Berlin-Adlershof
Institutes and Institutions:Institute of Planetary Research > Planetary Geodesy
Deposited By: Joachim Flohrer
Deposited On:18 Jan 2011 09:14
Last Modified:04 Apr 2013 16:27

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