The Star-Planet Activity Research CubeSat (SPARCS) is a NASA-funded astrophysics mission, devoted to the study of the ultraviolet (UV) time-domain behavior in low-mass stars. Given their abundance and size, low-mass stars are important targets in the search for habitable-zone, exoplanets. However, not enough is known about the stars flare and quiescent emission, which powers photochemical reactions on the atmospheres of possible planets. Over its initial 1-year mission, SPARCS will stare at ≈10 stars in order to measure short- (minutes) and long- (months) term variability simultaneously in the near-UV (NUV - δc = 280 nm) and far-UV (FUV – lc = 162 nm). The SPARCS payload consists of a 9-cm reflector telescope paired with two high-sensitivity 2D-doped CCDs. The detectors are kept passively cooled at 238K, in order to reduce dark-current contribution. The filters have been selected to provide strong rejection of longer wavelengths, where most of the starlight is emitted. The payload will be integrated within a 6U CubeSat to be placed on a Sun-synchronous terminator orbit, allowing for long observing stares for all targets. Launch is expected to occur not earlier than October 2021.
|Original language||English (US)|
|State||Published - Aug 28 2018|
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