AAVSO: American Association of Variable Star Observers

The BRITE Constellation Mission (Abstract)

Volume 47 number 2 (2019)

Gregg Wade
Department of Physics and Space Science, Royal Military College, P.O. Box 17000, Station Forces, Kingston, ON K7K 7B4, Canada, and Department of Physics, Engineering Physics and Astronomy, Queen’s University, Stirling Hall, 64 Bader Lane, Kingston, ON K7L 3N6, Canada; Gregg.Wade@rmc.ca

Abstract

(Abstract only) The BRITE (BRIght Target Explorer) Constellation mission is described, as are some of the results to date. A collaboration between scientists in Canada, Austria, and Poland, BRITE is a network of five nanosatellites investigating the stellar structure and evolution of the brightest stars in the sky, and their interaction with the local environment. Forms of stellar variability—micropulsation and wind phenomena among others—are recorded via high-precision photometry in two colours (red and blue). The massive BRITE target stars are extremely important in producing the chemical elements in our universe, and recycling them in winds and supernovae. They are “laboratories” that help us to understand a wide range of the astrophysical processes in our universe.