Prospects for Observing Space Debris with Solar Coronagraphs
PHILLIPS LAB HANSCOM AFB MA
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Solar coronagraphs appear to offer significant advantages over conventional telescopes for observing space debris of small size. By utilizing the albedo-independent, high sensitivity of coronagraphs for detecting particulates angularly close to the sun, it is shown that observed photon fluxes will be many orders of magnitude larger than for observations based on diffuse reflection backscattering. This may result in signal-to-noise ratios sufficiently large to detect particles an order of magnitude smaller than can be detected via backscattered solar radiation using a conventional telescope with the same aperture as the coronagraph.