The stratospheric terahertz observatory (STO): An LDB experiment to investigate the life cycle of the interstellar medium

C. K. Walker, C. A. Kulesa, C. E. Groppi, E. Young, T. McMahon, P. Bernasconi, C. Lisse, D. Neufeld, D. Hollenbach, J. Kawamura, P. Goldsmith, W. Langer, H. Yorke, J. Sterne, A. Skalare, I. Mehdi, S. Weinreb, J. Kooi, J. Stutzki, U. GrafC. Honingh, P. Puetz, C. Martin, M. Wolfire

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper

2 Scopus citations

Abstract

The Stratospheric Terahertz Observatory (STO) is a balloon-borne, 0.8-meter telescope designed to investigate the structure of the interstellar medium and the life cycle of interstellar clouds. In its first long duration flight, STO will use two, 4-beam HEB receiver arrays to survey part of the Galactic Plane in the [C II] line at 158 microns (the brightest spectral line in the Galaxy) and the [N II] line at 205 microns (a tracer of the star formation rate). At ~1' angular resolution and < 1 km/s velocity resolution, STO will detect every interstellar cloud with AV > 0.3 in the surveyed region, and, through excitation and kinematic diagnostics provided by [C II] and [N II] line emission, will illustrate how atomic and molecular clouds are formed and dispersed in the Galaxy. STO will make 3- dimensional maps of the structure, dynamics, turbulence, energy balance, and pressure of the Milky Way's Interstellar Medium (ISM), as well as the star formation rate. In future flights, STO will observe the important far-infrared lines of [O I], [N II], and HD.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages9-13
Number of pages5
StatePublished - Dec 1 2008
Event19th International Symposium on Space Terahertz Technology, ISSTT 2008 - Groningen, Netherlands
Duration: Apr 28 2008Apr 30 2008

Other

Other19th International Symposium on Space Terahertz Technology, ISSTT 2008
CountryNetherlands
CityGroningen
Period4/28/084/30/08

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Networks and Communications
  • Space and Planetary Science
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering
  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics

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    Walker, C. K., Kulesa, C. A., Groppi, C. E., Young, E., McMahon, T., Bernasconi, P., Lisse, C., Neufeld, D., Hollenbach, D., Kawamura, J., Goldsmith, P., Langer, W., Yorke, H., Sterne, J., Skalare, A., Mehdi, I., Weinreb, S., Kooi, J., Stutzki, J., ... Wolfire, M. (2008). The stratospheric terahertz observatory (STO): An LDB experiment to investigate the life cycle of the interstellar medium. 9-13. Paper presented at 19th International Symposium on Space Terahertz Technology, ISSTT 2008, Groningen, Netherlands.