Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

A special target: Spotting Planck in the heavens

Date:
March 3, 2011
Source:
European Space Agency
Summary:
As part of the Space Situational Awareness program, ESA's Tenerife observatory often searches for near-Earth objects. Recently, however, it caught a glimpse of the Agency's Planck orbiting telescope.

Artist's impression of the Planck spacecraft.
Credit: ESA

As part of the Space Situational Awareness programme, ESA's Tenerife observatory often searches for near-Earth objects. Recently, however, it caught a glimpse of the Agency's Planck orbiting telescope.

The team working on the Near-Earth-Object (NEO) segment of the Space Situational Awareness programme uses the 1-m telescope at the Optical Ground Station on the island of Tenerife in the Canary Islands to observe asteroids for two nights every two weeks. The focus is on following up recently discovered asteroids and testing survey strategies.

Recently, the telescope was pointed at a special target: ESA's Planck spacecraft, orbiting the Sun 1.5 million km from our planet.

The image shows Planck at a brightness of about magnitude 17 as it moves around the L2 Lagrange point, as seen from Tenerife on 11 January 2011. These observations are part of a test for a programme intended to support ESA's Gaia star-mapper. The aim is to check that the quality of the telescope and the camera system is good enough for the required observations.

Gaia will be launched into a similar orbit as Planck in 2012 to produce a highly accurate map of our galaxy. It will also measure numerous asteroids and comets, which are also the interest to the NEO team.

To ensure high accuracy, it is important to know precisely where the spacecraft is located with respect to Earth. The idea is to add optical position measurements to boost the accuracy of standard radio tracking methods.

A small number of high-quality telescopes will observe the satellite regularly. By comparing its position with respect to the star background, it should be possible to fix its position more precisely than with radio tracking alone. Several ground observations will study Planck to start setting up the procedure for observing Gaia.

The Gaia mission will dramatically increase our knowledge of asteroid positions by proving a highly accurate star catalogue. The inaccuracies in the current catalogues are the main uncertainty in asteroid positions.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by European Space Agency. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

European Space Agency. "A special target: Spotting Planck in the heavens." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 3 March 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/03/110303111952.htm>.
European Space Agency. (2011, March 3). A special target: Spotting Planck in the heavens. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/03/110303111952.htm
European Space Agency. "A special target: Spotting Planck in the heavens." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/03/110303111952.htm (accessed July 23, 2014).

Share This




More Space & Time News

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Raw: Cargo Craft Undocks from Space Station

Raw: Cargo Craft Undocks from Space Station

AP (July 22, 2014) A Russian Soyuz cargo-carrying spacecraft undocked from the International Space Station on Monday. The craft is due to undergo about ten days of engineering tests before it burns up in the Earth's atmosphere. (July 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
NASA Ceremony Honors Moon Walker Neil Armstrong

NASA Ceremony Honors Moon Walker Neil Armstrong

AP (July 21, 2014) NASA honored one of its most famous astronauts Monday by renaming a historic building at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. It now bears the name of Neil Armstrong, the first man to walk on the moon. (July 21) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Neil Armstrong's Post-Apollo 11 Life

Neil Armstrong's Post-Apollo 11 Life

Newsy (July 19, 2014) Neil Armstrong gained international fame after becoming the first man to walk on the moon in 1969. But what was his life like after the historic trip? Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
This Week @ NASA, July 18, 2014

This Week @ NASA, July 18, 2014

NASA (July 18, 2014) Apollo 11 yesterday, Next Giant Leap tomorrow, Science instruments for Europa mission, and more... Video provided by NASA
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins