Balloon-borne Investigation Provides First Simultaneous Measurements of Crucial Coronal Parameters

Tuesday, April 28, 2020 - 13:20 in Astronomy & Space

PROJECT Balloon-borne Investigation of Temperature and Speed of Electrons in the corona (BITSE) SNAPSHOT New technology demonstrated on BITSE has simultaneously detected the 2D density, temperature, and speed of electrons in the solar corona for the first time. Dr. Jeff Newmark (left) and Dr. Nat Gopalswamy (right) with a prototype of the polarization camera flown on BITSE. This new technology eliminates the need for an extra mechanism. An observational technique first proposed more than four decades ago to measure the physical parameters of the corona that determine the formation of the solar wind—the source of disturbances in Earth's upper atmosphere—was recently demonstrated. For the first time, a coronagraph provided crucial measurements of the density, temperature, and speed of electrons in the corona. A balloon measuring over 1.1 million cubic meters carried BITSE to an altitude of 39 km. Nat Gopalswamy and Jeff Newmark, heliophysicists at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, recently demonstrated BITSE —...

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