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The FIREBall-2 UV balloon telescope: 2018 flight and improvements for 2020

Hoadley, Keri and Hamden, Erika T. and Milliard, Bruno and Khan, Aafaque R. and Agarwal, Simran and Lin, Zeren and Schiminovich, David and Kyne, Gillian and Evrard, Jean and Martin, D. Christopher (2019) The FIREBall-2 UV balloon telescope: 2018 flight and improvements for 2020. In: UV, X-Ray, and Gamma-Ray Space Instrumentation for Astronomy XXI. Proceedings of SPIE. No.11118. Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE) , Bellingham, WA, Art. No. 1111815. ISBN 9781510629295.

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The Faint Intergalactic-medium Redshifted Emission Balloon (FIREBall-2, FB-2) is designed to discover and map faint UV emission from the circumgalactic medium around low redshift galaxies (z ~ 0.3 (C IV); z ~ 0.7 (Lyα); z ~ 1.0 (O VI)). FIREBall-2's first launch, on September 22nd 2018 out of Ft. Sumner, NM, was abruptly cut short due to a hole that developed in the balloon. FIREBall-2 was unable to observe above its minimum require altitude (25 km; nominal: 32 km) for its shortest required time (2 hours; nominal: 8+ hours). The shape of the deflated balloon, as well as a concurrent full moon close to our observed target field, revealed a severe, off-axis scattered light path directly to the UV science detector. Additional damage to FB-2 added complications to the ongoing effort to prepare FB-2 for a quick re-flight. Upon landing, several mirrors in the optical chain, including the two large telescope mirrors, were damaged, resulting in chunks of material broken off the sides and reflecting surfaces. The magnifying optical element, called the focal corrector, was discovered to be misaligned beyond tolerance after the 2018 flight, with one of its two mirrors damaged from the landing impact. We describe the steps taken thus far to mitigate the damage to the optics, as well as procedures and results from the ongoing efforts to re-align the focal corrector and spectrograph optics. We report the throughput of the spectrograph before and after the 2018 flight and plans for improving it. Finally, we describe several methods by which we address the scattered light issues seen from FIREBall-2's 2018 campaign and present the current status of FB-2 to fly during the summer campaign in Palestine, TX in 2020.

Item Type:Book Section
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription
Hoadley, Keri0000-0002-8636-3309
Martin, D. Christopher0000-0002-8650-1644
Additional Information:© 2019 Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE). This work was funded primarily through the APRA program for sub-orbital missions which funds the US side of FIREBall. CNES and CNRS provided support for the French side of the FIREBall collaboration. Dr. Hoadley is supported through the David & Ellen Lee Prize Postdoctoral Fellowship in Experimental Physics at Caltech. The FIREBall-2 collaboration would like thank the Columbia Scientific Ballooning Facility (CSBF) and Balloon Program Office (BPO/NASA) for their support throughout the 2017/2018 campaigned in Ft. Sumner, NM.
Group:Space Radiation Laboratory
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA)UNSPECIFIED
Centre National d'Études Spatiales (CNES)UNSPECIFIED
Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS)UNSPECIFIED
David and Ellen Lee Postdoctoral ScholarshipUNSPECIFIED
Subject Keywords:Scientific Ballooning, CGM, Galaxy Evolution, Optical Alignment
Series Name:Proceedings of SPIE
Issue or Number:11118
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20190913-080236356
Persistent URL:
Official Citation:Keri Hoadley, Erika T. Hamden, Bruno Milliard, Aafaque R. Khan, Simran Agarwal, Zeren Lin, David Schiminovich, Gillian Kyne, Jean Evrard, and D. Christopher Martin "The FIREBall-2 UV balloon telescope: 2018 flight and improvements for 2020", Proc. SPIE 11118, UV, X-Ray, and Gamma-Ray Space Instrumentation for Astronomy XXI, 1111815 (9 September 2019);
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:98629
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:13 Sep 2019 16:40
Last Modified:16 Nov 2021 17:40

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