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Mathematisch-Naturwissenschaftliche Fakultät
Fachgruppe Physik

I. Physikalisches Institut

Stratospheric Terahertz Observatory is ready to launch from Antarctica

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STO Team August 2011 at the CSBF in Palestine, Texas

The Stratospheric Terahertz Observatory (STO) underwent the NASA flight readyness review process at the Columbia Scientific Balloon Facility in Palestine, Texas. With this milestone three years of work have been concluded and the first science launch is targeted for December 2011 near the McMurdo Station in Antarctica. During the critical integration phase in the last few months Dipl.-Phys. Michael Brasse and Dr. Patrick Pütz joined the team of PI Chris Walker (University of Arizona, USA) for receiver integration and system testing.

STO is a balloon-borne observatory with a 0.8 m diameter primary and employs a heterodyne THz array receiver using superconducting mixer focal plane units. Four pixels each will be used for high-resolution spectroscopy of the 1.46 THz N+ and 1.90 THz C+ fine structure transitions. The 1. Physikalisches Institut contributes the 1.90 THz superconducting hot electron bolometer mixers, receiver optics and knowhow for THz receiver integration and testing.

More information can be found here and here (external link).

(PPÜ 2011-09-26)