Short timescale imaging polarimetry of geostationary satellite Thor-6 : the nature of micro-glints

Wiersema, Klaas and Chote, Paul and Marchant, Jonathan and Covino, Stefano and Maund, Justyn and Agathanggelou, Alexander and Feline, William and George, Simon and Privett, Grant and Simmons, Brooke and Steele, Iain (2022) Short timescale imaging polarimetry of geostationary satellite Thor-6 : the nature of micro-glints. Advances in Space Research, 70 (10). pp. 3003-3015. ISSN 0273-1177

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Large constellations of orbiting communication satellites will become an important source of noise for present and future astronomical observatories. Mitigation measures rely on high quality predictive models of the position and expected brightness of these objects. Optical linear imaging polarimetry holds promise as a quantitative tool to improve our understanding of the physics of reflection of sunlight off satellite components and through which models of expected brightness can be improved. We present the first simultaneous short-timescale linear polarimetry and optical photometry observations of a geostationary satellite, using the new MOPTOP imaging polarimeter on the 2 m Liverpool Telescope. Our target, telecommunication satellite Thor-6, shows prominent short timescale glint-like features in the lightcurve, some as short as seconds. Our polarimetric observations overlap with several of these micro-glints, and have the cadence required to resolve them. We find that the polarisation lightcurve is remarkably smooth, the short time scale glints are not seen to produce strong polarimetric features in our observation. We show how short timescale polarimetry can further constrain the properties of the components responsible for these micro-glints.

Item Type:
Journal Article
Journal or Publication Title:
Advances in Space Research
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?? geosynchronous earth orbitoptical imagingpolarizationyesspace and planetary scienceaerospace engineering ??
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Deposited On:
06 Oct 2022 14:55
Last Modified:
17 Jul 2024 00:14