Fast and Robust pointing and tracking using a second-generation star tracker.

John Leif Jørgensen, Andrew Pickles

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingArticle in proceedingsResearchpeer-review


    Second generation star trackers work by taking wide-angle optical pictures of star fields, correlating the image against a star catalogue in ROM, centroiding many stars to derive an accurate position and orientation. This paper describes a miniature instrument(10cm cube), fast and lightweight (850g), including database and search engine. It can be attached to any telescope to deliver an accurate absolute attitude reference via a serial line. It is independent of encoders or control systems, and works whenever it can see the sky. Position update rates in the range of 1 to 5 Hz enable closed-loop operations. The paper describes the instrument operational principles, and its application as an attitude reference unit for a telescope. Actual data obtained at the University of Hawaii's 0.6-m telescope are presented, and their utility for correcting mechanical alignment discussed. The system has great potential as a positioner and guider for (i) remotely operated optical telescopes, (ii) infrared telescopes operating in dark clouds, and (iii) radio telescopes. Other application recommendations and the performance estimates are given.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationProceedings of the Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE)
    Place of PublicationWashington
    Publication date1998
    ISBN (Print)0-8194-2798-5
    Publication statusPublished - 1998
    EventConference on Telescope Control Systems III - Kona, HI, United States
    Duration: 20 Mar 199821 Mar 1998


    ConferenceConference on Telescope Control Systems III
    Country/TerritoryUnited States
    CityKona, HI
    SeriesProceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering


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