Some colleagues and I were planning to launch a stratospheric balloon in December. A thought occurred to me: what if we were to put some sort of xray camera in the payload? We are expecting a maximum altitude of about 80,000 feet. Would it work any better at that altitude?


Long ago I was part of a group that flew high altitude balloons to study x-rays from pulsars etc. How much you detect and at what energy depends upon how much atmosphere is above your detector. Lower energy x-rays are absorbed more than higher energy x-rays. Realistically you won't detect anything except maybe the Sun at energies below 20 keV and at altitude below 25km. We aimed for altitudes near 40km. To detect high energy x-rays the cheapest method is to use a proportional counter. Not something you can buy off-the-shelf.

Also the Sun only emits a lot of high energy x-rays during solar flares.

An interesting experiment would be to fly a geiger counter see http://earthtosky.net/


Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.