Infrared Photometry of GEO Spacecraft with WISE

Lee, C.H.; Seitzer, P.; Cutri, R.M.; Grillmair, C.J.; Schildknecht, Thomas (2016). Infrared Photometry of GEO Spacecraft with WISE. AMOS Technical Papers. Curran Associates, Inc.

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NASA launched the Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) into orbit on December 2009 with a mission to scan the entire sky in the infrared in four wavelength bands of 3.4, 4.6, 12, and 22 microns. WISE acquired data in
the four bands for 10 months until the solid hydrogen cryogen was depleted and then proceeded to operate in the two short er wavelength bands for an additional four months in a Post-Cryo phase. In its trove of data, WISE captured many streaks that were artificial satellites in orbit around Earth. We have examined a subset of equatorial WISE images with |declination
| < 15.0 degrees to find geosynchronous Earth orbit (GEO) station-keeping satellites. Furthermore, we require |galactic latitude| > 30 degrees in order to minimize contamination of the satellite streaks by stars in the galactic plane. At least one streak of the length appropriate for a GEO station-keeping satellite appears in over 10% of these images. In bands 1 through 3 (for images 1016x1016 in size), the streaks are approximately 100 pixels in length, and in band 4 (for images 508x508 in size), the streaks are approximately 50 pixels in length. Most, but not all, of these spacecraft appear in all 4 wavelength bands. Since WISE is in a Sun-synchronous orbit
pointed approximately radially away from the Earth at all times, all observations of GEO objects were obtained at a solar phase angle of approximately 90 degrees. We report on the color distributions of these detections and interpret the colors and compare the spacecraft colors with colors of other astronomical objects such as stars, galaxies, and asteroids that have appeared in previously published works on WISE data.

Item Type:

Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)


08 Faculty of Science > Institute of Astronomy

UniBE Contributor:

Schildknecht, Thomas


500 Science > 520 Astronomy




Curran Associates, Inc.




Alessandro Vananti

Date Deposited:

14 Feb 2017 09:11

Last Modified:

10 Nov 2017 18:37

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