Mini-EUSO engineering model: tests in open-sky condition
2019 July 30
Mini-EUSO is a UV telescope that will look downwards to the Earth’s atmosphere onboard the International Space Station. With the design of the ultra-high energy cosmic ray fluorescence detectors belonging to the JEM-EUSO program, it will make the first UV map of the Earth by observing atmospheric phenomena such as transient luminous events, sprites and lightning, as well as meteors and bioluminescence from earth. Diffused light from laser shots from the ground, which mimic the fluorescence light emitted by Nitrogen molecules when extensive air showers pass through the atmosphere, can be used to verify the capability of this kind of detector to observe ultra-high energy cosmic rays. To validate the electronics and the trigger algorithms developed for Mini-EUSO, a scaled down version of the telescope with 1:9 of the original focal surface and a lens of 2.5 cm diameter has been built. Tests of the Mini-EUSO engineering model have been made in laboratory and in open sky condition. In this paper, we report results of observations of the night sky, which include the detection of stars, meteors, a planet and a rocket body reflecting the sunlight. Interesting results of the observation of city lights are also reported.