Estimating the Background of the BlackCAT CubeSat and Its Impact on Science Observations

Joseph M. Colosimo, Abraham D. Falcone, Tyler B. Anderson, Cole R. Armstrong, Logan D. Baker, David N. Burrows, Zachary Catlin, Seth K. Culbertson, Derek B. Fox, Hannah M. Grzybowski, Evan C. Jennerjahn, Daniel M. LaRocca, Gooderham McCormick, David M. Palmer, Lukas R. Stone, Mitchell Wages, Daniel Washington

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

2 Scopus citations


The BlackCAT CubeSat will monitor the soft X-ray sky, searching for high-redshift gamma-ray bursts (GRBs), gravitational-wave counterparts, and other high-energy transient events. BlackCAT will utilize a coded-aperture mask to localize sources to sub-arcminute precision. We investigate the primary forms of background that will affect this mission and present different methods to suppress these sources in order to increase the sensitivity of this mission. In the absence of mitigation, the optical and ultraviolet backgrounds could increase noise in the hybrid CMOS detectors (HCDs) used in this mission and potentially trigger spurious events. We plan to use a polyimide filter to suppress extreme ultraviolet emission produced by the geocorona. The HCDs and polyimide filter will be coated with a thin aluminum layer to block optical light. We estimate the magnitude of the observed cosmic and galactic X-ray backgrounds. Additionally, we investigate the impact of trapped particles on the sensitivity and duty cycle of the mission. We discuss the effect of these various sources of background on the sensitivity of BlackCAT to GRBs and other transient events.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationSpace Telescopes and Instrumentation 2022
Subtitle of host publicationUltraviolet to Gamma Ray
EditorsJan-Willem A. den Herder, Shouleh Nikzad, Kazuhiro Nakazawa
ISBN (Electronic)9781510653436
StatePublished - 2022
EventSpace Telescopes and Instrumentation 2022: Ultraviolet to Gamma Ray - Montreal, United States
Duration: Jul 17 2022Jul 22 2022

Publication series

NameProceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering
ISSN (Print)0277-786X
ISSN (Electronic)1996-756X


ConferenceSpace Telescopes and Instrumentation 2022: Ultraviolet to Gamma Ray
Country/TerritoryUnited States

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Applied Mathematics
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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