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James Gilbert & Joice Mathew (Research School of Astronomy & Astrophysics, Australian National University)

Colloquium: Emus in orbit: ANU payloads for space-based near-infrared astronomy and Earth observation

The Australia Telescope National Facility Colloquium
15:00-16:00 Wed 27 May 2020

Remotely Hosted


The ‘Emu’ payload is a compact wide-field photometer destined for a 6-month astronomy mission aboard the International Space Station. Its detector technology is also readily transferrable to Earth observation applications, including bushfire mitigation. The Emu astronomy mission will undertake a most-of-sky survey in the 1.4 µm ‘water band’ to reveal the oxygen abundance properties of cool stars. It will use high-speed time-delay integration imaging, which removes the need for active pointing control, yet will remain sensitive enough to achieve a signal-to-noise ratio of 10 for stars of magnitude m_AB≈12.5 (H-band). This is achieved with a Leonardo ‘SAPHIRA’ linear-mode avalanche photodiode array reading out at ~50 frames per second via ANU’s ‘Rosella’ detector control electronics. We present an overview of the mission, including the instrument design, science simulations, and our plans to redeploy the technology in free-flying satellites for addressing matters closer to home.


Andrew Cameron

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