On the Verge of an Astronomy CubeSat Revolution

Status Report From: e-Print archive
Posted: Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Evgenya L. Shkolnik

(Submitted on 3 Sep 2018)

CubeSats are small satellites built in standard sizes and form factors, which have been growing in popularity but have thus far been largely ignored within the field of astronomy. When deployed as space-based telescopes, they enable science experiments not possible with existing or planned large space missions, filling several key gaps in astronomical research. Unlike expensive and highly sought-after space telescopes like the Hubble Space Telescope (HST), whose time must be shared among many instruments and science programs, CubeSats can monitor sources for weeks or months at time, and at wavelengths not accessible from the ground such as the ultraviolet (UV), far-infrared (far-IR) and low-frequency radio. Science cases for CubeSats being developed now include a wide variety of astrophysical experiments, including exoplanets, stars, black holes and radio transients. Achieving high-impact astronomical research with CubeSats is becoming increasingly feasible with advances in technologies such as precision pointing, compact sensitive detectors, and the miniaturisation of propulsion systems if needed. CubeSats may also pair with the large space- and ground-based telescopes to provide complementary data to better explain the physical processes observed.

Comments: Updated version published in Nature Astronomy's May 2018 issue, and can be read here: this https URL

Subjects: Instrumentation and Methods for Astrophysics (astro-ph.IM)

Journal reference: Nature Astronomy, 2018, Volume 2, p. 374-378

DOI: 10.1038/s41550-018-0438-8

Cite as: arXiv:1809.00667 [astro-ph.IM] (or arXiv:1809.00667v1 [astro-ph.IM] for this version)

Submission history

From: Evgenya L. Shkolnik 

[v1] Mon, 3 Sep 2018 17:34:02 GMT (1271kb,D)

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