BRITE-Constellation News

From/de Jaymie Matthews, BEST member
(Cassiopeia – Autumn/l’automne 2016)

The mission has matured to the point where it continues in full science operations, several data releases to BRITE target PIs have already taken place, and some data will soon enter the public domain when the 1-year proprietary period expires.

More information about the mission is available on our website. General inquiries about BRITE-Constellation should be directed to the BEST Chair, Andrzej Pigulski, Univ. Wroclaw, Poland: pigulski@astro.uni.wroc.pl.

Operations

There are five operating BRITE satellites in the Constellation, collecting data on various sky fields in a coordinated programme to obtain well-sampled, long light curves in two bandpasses. As this issue of Cassiopeia went to press, here was the status of the sky assignments for the BRITE cubesats:

  • BRITE Toronto (Canada) was collecting red-filter photometry of stars in a field which includes Cygnus and Lyra, with trial observations of the Ara-Scorpius field. There were 31 stars in the Ara-Sco trial, several of which turned out to be interesting variables. In mid-September, BRITE Toronto began monitoring the Ara-Sco field full-time. BRITE Toronto’s performance continues to make it the ‘flagship’ of the BRITE photometric fleet.
  • UniBRITE (Austria) is monitoring the Cygnus-Lyra field in the red bandpass. The goal is switch it to the Cassiopeia field, but this may present some challenges due to startracker problems when the telescope is pointing in the Cas direction, and possible downlink interruptions due to stormy weather at the ground station in Graz (Austria). BRITE Austria is obtaining blue photometry of the Sagittarius and Cassiopeia fields.
  • Hevelius (Poland) has obtained beautiful red-filter data on stars in the Sagittarius field. In mid-September, it will switch to the Auriga-Perseus field. The other Polish BRITE satellite, Lem (equipped with a blue filter) was dormant for six weeks due to on-board software problems. At press time, it is collecting data in the Cygnus-Lyra field, but will move to Auriga-Perseus in mid-September to join its Polish twin to enable two-colour photometry of this field.

The BRITE Constellation observing programme from early 2017 through mid-2018 is currently being planned by the BRITE Executive Science Team (BEST).

Conferences, Resources and Social Media

The 2nd BRITE Constellation Science Conference was held at the University of Innsbruck, Austria, during 22 – 26 August 2016. Nearly 60 scientists took part, and there was a chance for them to interact with Austrian amateur astronomers. The Canadian Trade Commissioner from the Embassy in Vienna was one of the officials to open the meeting, and she attended the first two days of scientific sessions. For details on the programmes, you can visit the conference website. The Conference Proceedings will appear in early 2017.

The 3rd BRITE Constellation Science Conference will be hosted in Canada in August 2017. The most likely venue will be a lodge in rural Quebec near Montreal.

There will be a BRITE Spectropolarimetric Workshop in Meudon, France during 14 – 18 Nov.

Work is underway on a Public Data Archive, based in Warsaw, Poland at the Nikolaus Copernicus Astronomical Center.

BRITE Constellation is now on Facebook, at @briteconstellation. There is a mission Wiki (including information on past, current and future fields) at http://brite.craq-astro.ca/.

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