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17 September 2019 Small bodies science with the Twinkle space telescope
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Twinkle is an upcoming 0.45-m space-based telescope equipped with a visible and two near-infrared spectrometers covering the spectral range 0.4 to 4.5  μm with a resolving power R  ∼  250 (λ  <  2.42  μm) and R  ∼  60 (λ  >  2.42  μm). We explore Twinkle’s capabilities for small bodies science and find that, given Twinkle’s sensitivity, pointing stability, and spectral range, the mission can observe a large number of small bodies. The sensitivity of Twinkle is calculated and compared to the flux from an object of a given visible magnitude. The number, and brightness, of asteroids and comets that enter Twinkle’s field of regard is studied over three time periods of up to a decade. We find that, over a decade, several thousand asteroids enter Twinkle’s field of regard with a brightness and nonsidereal rate that will allow Twinkle to characterize them at the instrumentation’s native resolution with SNR  >  100. Hundreds of comets can also be observed. Therefore, Twinkle offers researchers the opportunity to contribute significantly to the field of Solar System small bodies research.

© 2019 Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE) 2329-4124/2019/$28.00 © 2019 SPIE
Billy Edwards, Sean Lindsay, Giorgio Savini, Giovanna Tinetti, Claudio Arena, Neil Bowles, and Marcell Tessenyi "Small bodies science with the Twinkle space telescope," Journal of Astronomical Telescopes, Instruments, and Systems 5(3), 034004 (17 September 2019).
Received: 7 May 2019; Accepted: 21 August 2019; Published: 17 September 2019

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