The quality of an image captured by the human eye is typically better than that obtained relative to artificial images created by cameras or telescopes. This is because humans have curved retinas. In contrast, conventional imaging cameras have flat sensors that are not well matched to the curved focal surfaces of a camera lens or telescope objective. Thus, the image cannot be at the same focus across the entire sensor field of view. It is hypothesized that as the surface of the sensor approaches the curvature of the camera lens or telescope, the image quality increases. To test this, a commercially available ray tracing software was used. The curvatures were varied from flat (0 mm) to 12 mm. As the curvature reached 9 mm, the Petzval curvature, the quality of the captured images from the camera significantly improved. However, as the curvature increased beyond 9 mm, the quality of the artificial image decreased. In addition, a simulation of a classical Cassegrain telescope was also made. For the telescope, the curvatures were varied from 0 mm to 500 mm. As the curvature approached the telescope’s focal surface curvature of 350 mm, the distortion decreased. In addition to the optical simulations, two images were generated: one with a camera and the other by a reconstruction process. The latter was reconstructed by using the central part of images taken along that curve to create an image. A comparison of these images demonstrates the superior image produced with the latter method. Devices such as cameras and telescopes with curved focal plane array detectors produce images with higher quality than those produced using devices equipped with flat focal plane array detectors.
blair3sat is a student-run team based in Montgomery County, Maryland, developing a 3U CubeSat. The satellite will include the instrument suite SIRVLAS, which contains an optical instrument and a Radio Frequency (RF) instrument. The objective of the mission is to prove that a set of instruments like SIRVLAS in a CubeSatstyle satellite is able to generate a three-dimensional mapping of ionospheric electron density. The optical instrument will measure OI 777.4 nm emissions in the lower ionosphere in a limb view geometry. Since the 777.4 nm wavelength is emitted from the radiative recombination reaction of O+ and e-, its intensity is proportional to the square of the electron density. Therefore, by measuring the intensity of the 777.4 nm emission, electron densities may be calculated. These electron densities will be used as a reference for the data processing of RF signals. Specifically, correlation between the two instruments is performed through constrained optimization of known ray-tracing PDEs. Mappings of electron density in the ionosphere will allow for a better understanding of radio applications including radar and missile tracking, while allowing for the verification of current atmospheric and climatological models.