The design and flight performance of the PoGOLite Pathfinder balloon-borne hard X-ray polarimeter
2016 (English)In: Experimental astronomy (Print), ISSN 0922-6435, E-ISSN 1572-9508, Vol. 41, no 1, 17-41 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
In the 50 years since the advent of X-ray astronomy there have been many scientific advances due to the development of new experimental techniques for detecting and characterising X-rays. Observations of X-ray polarisation have, however, not undergone a similar development. This is a shortcoming since a plethora of open questions related to the nature of X-ray sources could be resolved through measurements of the linear polarisation of emitted X-rays. The PoGOLite Pathfinder is a balloon-borne hard X-ray polarimeter operating in the 25-240 keV energy band from a stabilised observation platform. Polarisation is determined using coincident energy deposits in a segmented array of plastic scintillators surrounded by a BGO anticoincidence system and a polyethylene neutron shield. The PoGOLite Pathfinder was launched from the SSC Esrange Space Centre in July 2013. A near-circumpolar flight was achieved with a duration of approximately two weeks. The flight performance of the Pathfinder design is discussed for the three Crab observations conducted. The signal-to-background ratio for the observations is shown to be 0.25 ±0.03 and the Minimum Detectable Polarisation (99 % C.L.) is (28.4 ±2.2) %. A strategy for the continuation of the PoGOLite programme is outlined based on experience gained during the 2013 maiden flight.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2016. Vol. 41, no 1, 17-41 p.
Crab, Scientific ballooning, X-ray polarimetry
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-175006DOI: 10.1007/s10686-015-9474-xISI: 000369518700002ScopusID: 2-s2.0-84957436141OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kth-175006DiVA: diva2:875527
FunderSwedish National Space BoardKnut and Alice Wallenberg FoundationSwedish Research CouncilGöran Gustafsson Foundation for promotion of scientific research at Uppala University and Royal Institute of Technology
QC 201603042015-12-012015-10-092016-03-04Bibliographically approved