ARI in Space!
Final year Astrophysics MPhys student Martin Spurgin in collaboration with Professor Iain Steele (Astrophysics Research Institute) and JP Aerospace (USA) has successfully deployed an experiment to the edge of space.
A balloon rig carrying over 70 experiments was flown to an altitude of about 100,000 feet from the Arizona desert on Saturday 6th April 2013. After an energetic return to Earth and a few days searching the nearby mountains, the experiment (pictured, the small white box to the left) was recovered and is being flown back to LJMU for data analysis.
Martins explained that he hopes to measure the strength of UV radiation in comparison to visible radiation, to demonstrate how the Ozone layer absorbs these types of radiation differently.
The experiment had 3 UV and 2 visible light sensors on-board, each measuring the change in flux with respect to altitude of a different range of radiation wavelengths. UV radiation is absorbed more at longer wavelengths than the shorter ones, by comparing 3 subcategories of UV radiation, we may determine the thickness and altitude of the Ozone layer.
Martin commented "the visible and UVA sensors should observe only around a 10% increase in measured flux, the UVB sensor should observe around a 90% increase and the UVC sensor shouldn't pick up anything until it passes the Ozone layer. So by use of a small GPS unit on the cube I should be able to determine the height and thickness of the ozone layer as well as profile the atmosphere from the ground to the peak altitude".