Wide-field ultraviolet imager for astronomical transient studies
Though the ultraviolet (UV) domain plays a vital role in the studies of astronomical transient events, the UV time-domain sky remains largely unexplored. We have designed a wide-field UV imager that can be flown on a range of available platforms, such as high-altitude balloons, CubeSats, and larger space missions. The major scientific goals are the variability of astronomical sources, detection of transients such as supernovae, novae, tidal disruption events, and characterizing active galactic nuclei variability. The instrument has a 80 mm aperture with a circular field of view of 10.8 degrees, an angular resolution of ∼22 arcsec, and a 240 - 390 nm spectral observation window. The detector for the instrument is a Microchannel Plate (MCP)-based image intensifier with both photon counting and integration capabilities. An FPGA-based detector readout mechanism and real time data processing have been implemented. The imager is designed in such a way that its lightweight and compact nature are well fitted for the CubeSat dimensions. Here we present various design and developmental aspects of this UV wide-field transient explorer.
KeywordsUltraviolet space instrumentation Wide-field imager Transient detection Time-domain astronomy
Part of this research has been supported by the Department of Science and Technology (Government of India) under Grant IR/S2/PU-006/2012. A. G. Sreejith acknowledges Austrian Forschungsförderungsgesellschaft FFG project “ACUTEDIRNDL” P859718.
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