BRITE Constellation Mission Update

From/de Gregg Wade, BEST Canadian PI
(Cassiopeia – Winter/hivers 2016)

BRITEpatch

The mission has matured to the point where it continues in full science operations, 14 data releases to BRITE target PIs have already taken place, and many datasets are in the public domain and available on the BRITE public archive.

The most recent Call for Proposals closed on 01 December 2016, and 15 new proposals for observation are currently being evaluated.

More information about the mission is available on our website: www.brite-constellation.at. General inquiries about BRITE Constellation should be directed to the BEST Chair, Andrzej Pigulski, Univ. Wroclaw, Poland: pigulski@astro.uni.wroc.pl or to Canadian PI Gregg Wade, RMC: wade-g@rmc.ca

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 Auriga and Perseus, in tandem with observations of the Vela and Pictoris field. These observations are planned to continue until the late spring of 2017. BRITE Toronto’s performance continues to make it the ‘flagship’ of the BRITE photometric fleet.
  • UniBRITE and BRITE-Austria (Austria) are monitoring the Cassiopeia and Orion fields in the red and blue bandpasses, respectively. These observations will continue until the early spring of 2017.
  • Hevelius (Poland) has is observing the Cetus/Eridanus field in the red bandpass. Lem (Poland) obtained some high-quality blue bandpass observations on the Auriga/Perseus field for about 40 days, but has recently encountered serious problems to achieve fine pointing on that field as well as the Vela/Pictoris field. A resolution to this problem is currently being developed.

The BRITE Constellation observing programme from early 2017 through mid-2018 has been planned by the BRITE Executive Science Team (BEST), and details are available on the BRITE photometry Wiki page.

Conferences, resources and social media

Conferences

  • 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. Conference details will soon be announced.
  • The second BRITE Spectropolarimetric Workshop occurred in Meudon, France during 14-18 Nov 2016.

The BRITE Public Data Archive, based in Warsaw, Poland, at the Nikolaus Copernicus Astronomical Center, can be accessed at https://brite.camk.edu.pl/pub/index.html

BRITE Constellation is now on Facebook, at @briteconstellation
The mission Wiki (including information on past, current and future fields) can be accessed at brite.craq-astro.ca/

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