Oral Presentation Only

Improving Radio Astronomy Using High Altitude Balloons as Calibration Sources

  • Graham West (Trevecca Nazarene University)
  • Ashlee Fowler (Trevecca Nazarene University)


The purpose of our research was to develop the theory for using high-altitude balloons as artificial guide stars for ground-based radio telescopes. Current methods of ground-based radio astronomy are limited by the necessity of having a guide star within a small angular distance from the source of interest, which is used to correct distortions of the signal caused by the atmosphere. This drastically limits the set of observable stars. If, however, high-altitude balloons equipped with radio transmitters were used to accomplish this task, it would open up a range of new possibilities for ground-based radio observatories. There are two major problems involved. The first is determining the set of all locations where the balloon is within the range of allowable angles. The second is calculating the angle that the telescope makes between the balloon and the source as measured from the telescope location. We present the results of theoretical analysis of the problem as well as the initial results of software tools that have been developed to test this hypothesis.

How to Cite:

West, G. & Fowler, A., (2013) “Improving Radio Astronomy Using High Altitude Balloons as Calibration Sources”, Academic High Altitude Conference 2013(1). doi: https://doi.org/10.31274/ahac.5604



Published on
01 Jan 2013
Peer Reviewed