The entire sky in one camera


Russian scientists from the Institute of Cosmic Research RAS, together with American colleagues from the National Science and Technology Centre and the Goddard Space Flight Centre, have developed a device, installed on a rotating spacecraft.

The miniature electronic-optical system it includes can encompass a “view” of the entire sky, meaning it can define the speed of charged particles (ions and electrons) that enter from all cosmic directions. The camera developed by the scientists is called a panoramic plasma spectrometer. A sensitive detector in the device measures to a high level of accuracy (as verified in a model experiment) three-dimensional flows of ions and electrons, focused through an elliptical mirror, in cosmic conditions. This camera has the advantage of being able to “see” charged particles at angles exceeding 180 degrees. Thanks to the high efficiency of operation and the small dimensions of the camera, the “entire sky” becomes an easy and reliable tool for cosmic experiments in solar-earth physics and for research of the planets.