Oct 9 – 12, 2018
Royal Observatory of Belgium
UTC timezone
<br>2nd BINA Workshop<br><br>BINA as an expanding international collaboration<P><img src="https://events.oma.be/indico/event/48/picture/0.jpg" width="279" height="75">

Size estimation of orbital debris using a zenith-pointing telescope

Oct 10, 2018, 10:30 AM
Meridian Room (Royal Observatory of Belgium)

Meridian Room

Royal Observatory of Belgium

Ringlaan 3, 1180 Brussels, Belgium
Contributed Talk 2.1. Data & Science with the Indo-Belgian telescopes 2. Data & Science with the Indo-Belgian telescopes


Mr Bikram Pradhan (University of Liège)


The size distribution of space debris is an important input to risk analysis for current and future space missions. In preparation for future observations with the zenith-pointing 4-m International Liquid Mirror Telescope, the 1.3-m Devasthal Fast Optical Telescope was used to gain experience with zenith-pointing observations and, serendipitously, to detect, identify and characterize orbital debris. Observational data were acquired on 11 nights in May, 2015 using a 2048 $\times$ 2048-pixel CCD detector operating in time-delay integration mode. Twelve moving objects were detected, mostly during dawn and twilight. All were identified by correlation with two-line element sets. By modeling each of the objects as a diffuse Lambertian sphere with an albedo of 0.175, their effective diameters were estimated from the observed apparent magnitudes, altitudes, velocities and solar phase angles. Seven objects were found to be in low Earth orbit and five in mid-Earth or geo-transfer orbits. The apparent Gaia magnitudes of the identified objects range from 5.6 to 12.0 and the estimated effective diameters from 0.3 to 10.1 m. Images from the future ILMT photometric survey are expected to provide detections of objects having diameters as small as 3 cm in low-Earth orbit.

Primary author

Mr Bikram Pradhan (University of Liège)

Presentation materials