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Sensors and Cameras for Local Space Analysis

  1. Oct 21, 2013 #1
    I've been looking all over and it appears like I may be using the wrong words to really get a solid answer. I figured I would ask here and maybe someone could either give me a few better terms to help my search or would know the answer already. Thanks in advance!

    I'm working with a team trying to put together a new imaging system to detect incoming objects in space. We need a camera that is capable of viewing as much space as possible and as far (and close) as possible without losing resolution integrity. I'm sorry I can't really give too many details on the project at this moment, but the general idea is to create a large area of our solar system that is never without constant surveillance. Cameras will synchronize together so as to always have a view on a large portion of space to allow for maximum visualization of any potential incoming object for study and analysis.

    With that we need a good array of scanning and sensor equipment that works at a good long range (in AU's would be best) while not losing integrity if those systems were stretched to view as much wide space as possible.

    Any ideas anyone?
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 22, 2013 #2


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    How much do you know about imaging? I ask because it has little to do with "range" and "resolution integrity". The primary concern is light gathering capability and field of view. This is a function of telescope size, focal ratio, and sensor sensitivity/size. Smaller optical systems (telescopes, camera lenses) typically have wider fields of view, but they don't have the same amount of light gathering as a larger optical system would have. However, larger optical systems typically have far longer focal lengths, meaning they see a much smaller portion of the sky, which would require more of them if you wanted to constantly keep most of the sky under watch.

    I really have no idea what you mean by "resolution integrity". Asteroids are so small at any realistic distance that they are effectively point objects for all but the absolute largest of telescopes.

    Also, like I said above, it's all about the brightness of the object you are wanting to image. Dim objects require much longer exposure/integration times to see than bright objects do. So even if you can cover the whole sky, you may not be able to see the dim objects you want to see because your system simply isn't capable of gathering enough light in a reasonable amount of time.

    There's no real answer to your question. It's a trade off between a great many factors.
  4. Oct 22, 2013 #3
    Thank you for your solid answer :) I'll go do a little more research :)
  5. Oct 26, 2013 #4


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    When planning a “new imaging system to detect incoming objects in space” your team just may save the earth from destruction by an asteroid. Before trying to “reinvent the wheel” I suggest that it can be useful to first discover what others have already done to accomplish this same objective.

    Your opening post is ambiguous: do you want to “detect incoming objects in space” from space-based detectors, or from earth-based detectors?

    Wikipedia offers some “Ongoing projects and Prospective projects” which can inform you and your team about some current and planned technologies. Be sure to check out these references:

    Stokes, GStokes, G.; J. Evans (18–25 July 2004). "Detection and discovery of near-Earth asteroids by the linear program". 35th COSPAR Scientific Assembly. Paris, France. p. 4338. Retrieved 2007-10-23.
    "Lincoln Near-Earth Asteroid Research (LINEAR)". National Aeronautics and Space Administration. 23 October 2007.
    "The Spacewatch Project". Retrieved 2007-10-23.
    "Near-Earth Objects Search Program". National Aeronautics and Space Administration. 23 October 2007.

  6. Oct 26, 2013 #5


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    Schmidt cameras have been a mainstay for wide field astrophotography for decades. Of course, I assume you were already aware of that.
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