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A balloon-borne 102-cm telescope for far-infrared astronomyIn the early 1970's, the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory and the University of Arizona engaged in a cooperative program to develop a balloon-borne 102-cm telescope capable of carrying out far infrared (40 to 250 micron) observations of astronomical interest above the earth's atmosphere. Since 1972, the telescope has flown and successfully recovered a total of nineteen times. Thirteen of the flights produced high-quality astronomical data, resulting in more than 92.5 hours of photometric and spectroscopic observations of numerous objects, such as H 2 regions, dark clouds, molecular clouds, a planetary nebula, a galaxy, the galactic center, the planets, and an asteroid. From the launch site in Palestine, Texas, sources as far south as -50 degrees declination were observed. The balloon-borne telescope was one of the most sensitive instruments ever used for observation in the far infrared region of the spectrum. It was most productive in producing high resolution maps of large areas (typically square degrees) centered on known H 2 regions, molecular clouds, and dark cloud complexes. In many cases, these scans produced the first far infrared maps of these regions, and many new sources were discovered. The results have led to a better understanding of the distribution of gas and dust in these regions, the evolution of H 2 regions, and the processes of star formation in giant molecular clouds. The following topics are presented: (1) the focal plane instrumentation; (2) the history and flight record; (3) scientific results and publications; (4) eduational aspects; and (5) future planes.
Document ID
Document Type
Contractor Report (CR)
Fazio, Giovanni G. (Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory Cambridge, MA, United States)
Date Acquired
September 6, 2013
Publication Date
December 1, 1990
Subject Category
Report/Patent Number
NAS 1.26:187778
Funding Number(s)
Distribution Limits
Work of the US Gov. Public Use Permitted.

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