Purpose of the flight and payload description
The experiment AGLAE was designed to measure the far-infrared emission of cold matter in our galaxy, the existence of which had been predicted by Guy Serra from the gamma-ray data of the European satellite COSB.
The optics of the instrument was composed of two identical systems (two wavelength channels) defined by reststrahlen filters connected to two Cassegrain telescopes with parallel beams pointed at a fixed elevation of 20º. In each channel, reflection filters define the wavelength bandwidth with the nommal values 114-196 microns and 71-95 microns; behind the filters, a spherical mirror focuses the IR beam onto gallium-doped germanium bolometers. All these elements are located on the cold plate of a helium cryostat. The signals from the bolometers are transmitted to the ground after amplification, using analog telemetry.
The gondola on which all these elements are mounted is azimuth stabilized and the rotation of the Earth is used to scan the sky with the instrument at constant elevation. The average azimuth can be reset by telecommand. The attitude of the gondola with respect to the local vertical is continuously monitored. Vertical oscillations remain negligible at ceiling altitude.
The technology of the AGLAE instument served to develope another instrument denominated AROME developed also by the same scientific group.
Details of the balloon flight
Balloon launched on: 9/23/1976
Launch site: Centre de Lancement de Ballons CLBA, Aire Sur L'Adour, Landes, France
Balloon launched by: Centre National d'Etudes Spatiales (CNES)
Balloon manufacturer/size/composition: Zero Pressure Balloon
This flight, the first for the instrument demonstrated the existence of a diffuse FIR emission of the interstellar medium, at a level consistent with the value predicted on the basis of phenomenological considerations made by Ryter and Puget (1976).
- Far infrared diffuse emission from the galactic plane. II - The longitude profile Astronomy and Astrophysics, vol. 76, no. 3, July 1979, p. 259-261
- The far-infrared emission of interstellar matter between galactic longitudes L equals 36 deg and L equals 55 deg Astrophysical Journal, Part 2 - Letters to the Editor, vol. 222, May 15, 1978, p. L21-L25
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