07.07.2022 change 07.07.2022

Global Astrophysical Telescope System that can track centimetre-sized objects is now complete

Credit: Adobe Stock Credit: Adobe Stock

One of the world’s most advanced telescopes for tracking objects circling the Earth has now been launched.

The third component of the Global Astrophysical Telescope System (GATS), the activated component is the PST3 telescope cluster in the dark sky reserve at the Nature Education Centre in Chalin near Sieraków.

A system of three specialized astronomical observatories at three locations on two continents - two in Europe and one in North America - the system which can detect objects as small as a few centimetres long was developed by the Astronomical Observatory Institute of the Adam Mickiewicz University with the support of the Ministry of Education and Science and the National Science Centre.

The first GATS system telescope - the Poznań Spectroscopic Telescope 1 (PST1) - was built in 2007 in Borówiec near Poznań. It is a remote-controlled, dual photometric and spectroscopic instrument, equipped with the highest resolution and stability optical astronomical spectrograph in Poland. PST1 is mainly used for asteroid observations.

The second component of the GATS system - Roman Baranowski Telescope / Poznań Spectroscopic Telescope 2 (RBT/PST2) - was built in 2011. In 2013, it was moved to the Winer Observatory in Arizona (USA). It is the most robotic telescope of the Adam Mickiewicz University. From 2019, it is part of the European artificial satellite tracking system created by the European Space Surveillance and Tracking (EU SST) Support Framework established in 2014. In quarterly tests, it regularly achieves the highest accuracy of measurements of the positions of artificial Earth satellites among all optical instruments of the entire framework.

The construction of the third component of the GATS system, the PST3 telescope cluster, started in 2019. It was launched during the remote connection of the AMU Astronomical Observatory with the Nature Education Centre in Chalin near Sieraków.

PST3 consists of five telescopes and can thus be used for various types of astronomical observations and for testing the latest models of astronomical digital cameras and modern software.

Adam Mickiewicz University said: “It is one of the world's most advanced optical systems for tracking artificial satellites, enabling the detection and tracking of even a few centimetre-sized objects in low orbits around the Earth (at a distance of several hundred kilometres from the observer).”

The PST3 telescope cluster set has been submitted to the EU SST Support Framework. Together with other GATS instruments, it will be used to carry out the latest European Space Agency projects implemented by the Astronomical Observatory Institute of the Adam Mickiewicz University.

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