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The SPOSH camera


Observations of the Meteorids-Population in the earth moon system with the SPOSH camera

Every year, the terrestrial planets and their moons collide with hundreds of tons of small objects, which originate from comets and from the asteroid belt. The investigation of the meteoroids provides a better understanding concerning the origin and condition of the minor planets. Meteors (“shooting stars”) in the earthly night sky are a known phenomenon for planet researcher. When meteoroids impact the moon surface, they release a part of their kinetic energy in the form of light flashes, which could recently be verified with telescopes.

The camera system SPOSH (Smart Panoramic Optical sensor Head) shall observe these short-lived phenomena systematically for the first time. The camera has a  sensitive 1024x1024-CCD and - wide-angle optics with high light-gathering power (f/1; 120°x120 °). A complementary photometer records the light curves of the expected light flashes with high spectral and temporal resolution. SPOSH is able to recognize the events automatically with the help of dedicated instrument software. Time and place, magnitudes and frequencies of the events are determined to draw conclusions on flux rates, type and orbit distribution of the meteoroids. Comparisons of the SPOSH data with the crater formation rate on the moon, the rate of seismic impact events, statistics of near-earth- asteroids as well as previously determined meteor rates are planned.

The SPOSH is typically used for meteor observations from the ground. For the observation of impacts on the lunar surface the use aboard a satellite in the lunar orbit is also conceivable. Currently, a phase-A study for such a project is performed at the Technical University Berlin.

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Prof. Jürgen Oberst
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