Measuring stellar activity of nearby stars

Blue Skies Space announces new satellite to monitor how energy released by stars can affect the habitability of distant planets.

Blue Skies Space press release – 12 October 2022

Stars, including our own Sun, can release huge amounts of energy during outbursts called flares. The most intense ones pose a danger to modern society through disruption to electricity grids, satellite systems and the Earth’s climate. Blue Skies Space’s new satellite Mauve is designed to monitor the flaring activity of stars that are hosts to potentially habitable exoplanets (planets outside our solar system). Mauve data will help scientists understand the impact of powerful stellar flares on exoplanet atmospheres and the potential of harbouring life.

Blue Skies Space, the world’s first company to deliver commercial science satellite data, will commence construction of its new satellite, Mauve in November 2022.

Prof. Giovanna Tinetti, Chief Scientist at Blue Skies Space commented:

“Mauve will be transformational in helping us understand the flaring behaviour of a population of nearby stars, most of which are even more active than our Sun. By monitoring other stars hosting planets, we will also better understand the behaviour of our own star, the Sun, and its potential impact on Earth.”

The satellite contains an UltraViolet (UV) spectrometer, a 15cm class telescope, and will be built in partnership with innovative small satellite manufacturers C3S LLC in Hungary, ISISPACE Group in the Netherlands and Blue Skies Space Italia S.R.L.

Marcell Tessenyi, CEO of Blue Skies Space said:

“I am very excited about the cutting-edge science enabled by Mauve and the close collaboration between UK and European partners to build it, enabled by the funding support of the European Union.”

Italian Astronomer Dr. Giuseppina Micela from the INAF Observatory of Palermo, who advised the team on the science, said:

“Mauve will open a new opportunity for astronomy and planetary research and generate greater access to stellar UV data which is currently very sparse.”

The University of Kent and the Europlanet network will help liaise with the scientific community to help maximise the science return of Mauve. Mauve is expected to launch into a low Earth orbit in 2024.