Dec 23 2010

High Altitude Balloon

Published by at 4:42 pm under Astrophysics

It seems I suggested to the GLAST people at one point, when the Fermi Gamma Ray Space Telescope was still in a pre-launch test phase, that they try pointing the telescope straight up into the sky and turn the instrument on to see what they could read.  As long as the anti-coincidence shield did not activate, there would be a gamma ray fog from the earth’s atmosphere, considerably stronger than the diffuse background that is found with the telescope now in space and pointing away from the earth.  With a planned schedule already at the time, they probably did not try it.

As far as new equipment goes, another way to test whether or not our atmosphere emits gamma rays is to send a gamma ray telescope up as the payload of a high altitude balloon.  The instrument would point at an acute angle to the vertical so as to keep the balloon itself out of the picture.  As the balloon ascends to high altitude there should be a gradually decreasing flux density of gamma rays.  The energies to look for are centered on 312.76 MeV.

The suggestion would otherwise be to place the instrument looking out an opening of a high altitude engine propelled aircraft as it ascends, except that vibrations may at times affect the readability.

One response so far

One Response to “High Altitude Balloon”

  1. Kevinon 15 Nov 2014 at 10:18 am

    All good scientists are also good mathematicians. I don’t mean to insult anyone here, but make sure the acute angle does not include any portion of terrestrial earth.

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