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18th of December 2015
ATNF Colloquium
Stratospheric balloons at the frontier of space: The example of PILOT
by Jean-Philippe Bernard (Toulouse, France)
Abstract. PILOT is a balloon-borne experiment dedicated to measuring the far-infrared polarized emission from dust in the diffuse ISM of our galaxy and nearby galaxies. I will present the experiment and its science objectives in the context of the recent results in polarization of the Planck satellite, and in particular the importance of such measurements for future measurements of the CMB polarization in search for B-modes. I will describe the first flight of the experiment which took place from Timmins, Canada in Sept 2015 and the in-flight performances achieved. The next flight of PILOT will be from Alice Springq in April 2017 during a flight campaign being operated by the French national space agency (CNES) and prepared in collaboration with the CSIRO. I will discuss the opportunity which is offered to the Australian astronomical community to participate in this forthcoming flight campaign, either through collaborations on the PILOT program or through the possibility to load its own instrumentation on one of the gondolas that will be flown. I will conclude with the perspectives of the field.

The picture shown above was taken from 39 km in the stratosphere during the first flight of the PILOT instrument, from Timmins, Canada in Sept 2015. The front baffle of the instrument is visible in the middle.

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