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Measuring ionizing radiation in the atmosphere with a new balloon-borne detector

Alpin, K. L., Briggs, A. A., Harrison, R. G. and Marlton, G. J. (2017) Measuring ionizing radiation in the atmosphere with a new balloon-borne detector. Space Weather, 15 (5). pp. 663-672. ISSN 1542-7390

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1002/2017SW001610

Abstract/Summary

Increasing interest in energetic particle effects on weather and climate has motivated development of a miniature scintillator-based detector intended for deployment on meteorological radiosondes or unmanned airborne vehicles. The detector was calibrated with laboratory gamma sources up to 1.3 MeV, and known gamma peaks from natural radioactivity of up to 2.6 MeV. The specifications of our device in combination with the performance of similar devices suggest that it will respond to up to 17 MeV gamma rays. Laboratory tests show the detector can measure muons at the surface, and it is also expected to respond to other ionizing radiation including, for example, protons, electrons (>100 keV) and energetic helium nuclei from cosmic rays or during space weather events. Its estimated counting error is ±10%. Recent tests, when the detector was integrated with a meteorological radiosonde system, and carried on a balloon to ~25 km altitude, identified the transition region between energetic particles near the surface, which are dominated by terrestrial gamma emissions, to higher-energy particles in the free troposphere.

Item Type:Article
Refereed:Yes
Divisions:Faculty of Science > School of Mathematical, Physical and Computational Sciences > Department of Meteorology
ID Code:70130
Publisher:American Geophysical Union

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