Macquarie University
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The SkyHopper Space Telescope Earthshine & Zodiacal light science requirements

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posted on 2022-06-03, 02:38 authored by Sarah Elizabeth Caddy


The SkyHopper Space Telescope is an ambitious new facility that is on target to become Australia’s first satellite based space telescope. One key science goal of the SkyHopper mission is to make an accurate measurement of the Cosmic Optical and Infrared Background (COIB). Primordial galaxies from the epoch of reionization are sources that are currently thought to contribute to the COIB. However, the existing conflict between photometric measurements and lower limits from integrated galaxy counts suggest that there may be a diffuse emission largely undetected due to the lack of control of systematic errors. Achieving an accurate measurement of the COIB will help to improve our understanding the origin of the sources that re-ionized the universe. Critical to the success of detecting the COIB with SkyHopper is systematic error control. In this thesis I address this by presenting a new method for correlating the Earthshine detected by a space telescope with NASA CERES satellite weather data. I construct a Bayesian optical payload instrument model from which I identify science requirements for the SkyHopper telescope design. This thesis works focuses on the need to successfully measure Zodiacal light strength, which is the most challenging aspect of measuring the COIB.


Table of Contents

1. Introduction -- 2. Mission Design and Science Methodology -- 3. Predicting Earthshine -- 4. Direct Measurement of Zodiacal Light -- 5. Future Work -- 6. Conclusions -- A. Appendix -- References


A thesis submitted to Macquarie University for the degree of Master of Research

Awarding Institution

Macquarie University

Degree Type

Thesis MRes


Thesis (MRes), Macquarie University, Faculty of Science and Engineering, 2019

Department, Centre or School

Department of Physics and Astronomy

Year of Award


Principal Supervisor

Lee Spitler


Copyright disclaimer: Copyright Sarah Elizabeth Caddy 2019.




xiv, 53 pages