Purpose of the flight and payload description
The objective of the flight was to expose nuclear emulsions to investigate charge spectrum of cosmic rays at very high charges.
The detector consisted of a sandwich of photographic emulsions and lead measuring 50 square feet. The emulsion were Ilford G5 plates composed by a suspension of AgBr crystals in gelatine which can be affected
by the passage through them of any electrically charged atomic particle.
Any fast highly charged primary intercepted while the balloon was at altitude would be able to penetrate the assembly with little change in speed, so that the track would have the same density in each emulsion layer. If, however, the particle were a heavily ionising but slow Fe nucleus, intercepted on the ascent or descent, the particle would either slow down significantly so that its density would increase as it penetrated the assembly, or the particle might stop.
Details of the balloon flight
Balloon launched on: 10/6/1966 at 18:26 cst
Launch site: Columbia Scientific Balloon Facility, Palestine, Texas, US
Balloon launched by: National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR)
Balloon manufacturer/size/composition: Zero Pressure Balloon Raven 5.000.000 cuft (0.75 mil. X-124)
Balloon serial number: 2323-545-8239 Serial Nº 132
Flight identification number: 256P
End of flight (L for landing time, W for last contact, otherwise termination time): 10/7/1966 at 8:26 cst
Balloon flight duration (F: time at float only, otherwise total flight time in d:days / h:hours or m:minutes - ): 14 h 30 m
Landing site: 14 miles SW of Bracketville, Texas, US
Payload weight: 780 lbs.
After examining the plates, several examples of highly charged (Z > 40) cosmic ray primaries have been observed and reported for the first time in a balloon flight.
- Balloon Flight Record Facilities for Atmospheric Research Nº 2, Winter 1966/67
- Emulsion Detector Proceedings, 5th AFCRL Scientific Balloon Symposium, (1968) p. 89
- NCAR Scientific Balloon Facility Annual Report, 1966 National Center for Atmospheric Research, January 1967
- Production and Propagation of Particles with A>81 in the Galaxy Physical Review D, vol. 5, Issue 2, pp. 307
- Study of the Charge Spectrum of Extremely Heavy Cosmic Rays Using Combined Plastic Detectors and Nuclear Emulsions Physical Review D, vol. 3, Issue 4, pp. 815
- The Charge Spectrum of Very Heavy Cosmic Ray Nuclei roceedings of the Royal Society A: Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Sciences, 301(1464), 39
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