NASA’s New Solar Scope Is Ready For Balloon Flight

  • Released Friday, August 23rd, 2019
  • Updated Wednesday, May 3rd, 2023 at 1:45PM

NASA and the Korea Astronomy and Space Science Institute, or KASI, are getting ready to test a new way to see the Sun, high over the New Mexico desert.

A pearlescent balloon — large enough to hug a football field — is scheduled to take flight no earlier than Aug. 26, 2019, carrying beneath it a solar scope called BITSE. BITSE is a coronagraph, a kind of telescope that blocks the Sun’s bright face in order to reveal its dimmer atmosphere, called the corona. Short for Balloon-borne Investigation of Temperature and Speed of Electrons in the corona, BITSE seeks to explain how the Sun spits out the solar wind.

Team member Nelson Reginald examines the BITSE instrument in the lab where it was built, at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center. BITSE is a coronagraph, a kind of telescope that blocks the Sun’s bright face in order to reveal its dimmer atmosphere.Credit: NASA/Joy Ng

Team member Nelson Reginald examines the BITSE instrument in the lab where it was built, at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center. BITSE is a coronagraph, a kind of telescope that blocks the Sun’s bright face in order to reveal its dimmer atmosphere.

Credit: NASA/Joy Ng

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NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center


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