Current Earth based solar telescopes are very expensive in part because there needs to be a significant investment in mirrors and other hardware to obtain a reasonable image of the Sun.
The SunbYte project aims to revolutionise solar telescope technology by creating a low cost telescope using novel manufacturing techniques such as 3D printing.
We will use the high altitude balloon to lift our solar telescope above the interference of Earth’s lower atmosphere to observe the Sun in the H alpha spectral line.
The Earth‘s atmosphere is dense and distorts much of the light which arrives at Earth. This makes solar observations very difficult. A small telescope at an altitude of 30-40km is more valuable than a large and expensive telescope on the ground.
The solar telescope design will be based upon a Raspberry Pi optical telescope called PiKon, developed by one of our team advisor (Mark Wrigley) and AiryLab EdgeHD 800 HaT Solar Telescope System developed by Astrograph Ltd.
The new design is step further than PiKon as it will utilise larger mirrors, specialist optical filters and higher resolution camera to increase the quality of the data.
A sensor and motorised system will detect and control the attitude of the telescope and the data collected will be stored on hard drives during the flight.
The assumption is that light incident upon the telescope at this altitude is less warped than light incident upon a telescope on the ground.
Resulting images from the experiment will be used to compare against industry standards and assess the viability of such a product.
The REXUS/BEXUS programme is realised under a bilateral Agency Agreement between the German Aerospace Center (DLR) and the Swedish National Space Board (SNSB). The Swedish share of the payload has been made available to students from other European countries through the collaboration with the European Space Agency (ESA).
Experts from DLR, SSC, ZARM and ESA provide technical support to the student teams throughout the project. EuroLaunch, the cooperation between the Esrange Space Center of SSC and the Mobile Rocket Base (MORABA) of DLR, is responsible for the campaign management and operations of the launch vehicles.