The TopHat experiment: A balloon-borne instrument for mapping millimeter and submillimeter emission

R.F. Silverberg, E.S. Cheng, J.E. Aguirre, J.J. Bezaire, T.M. Crawford, S.S. Meyer, A. Bier, B. Campano, T.C. Chen, D.A. Cottingham, E.H. Sharp, P.R. Christensen, S. Cordone, P.T. Timbie, R.E. Dame, D.J. Fixsen, R.J.K. Kristensen, Hans Ulrik Nørgaard-Nielsen, G.W. Wilson

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The TopHat experiment was designed to measure the anisotropy in the cosmic microwave background radiation on angular scales from 0.degrees 3 to 30 degrees and the thermal emission from both Galactic and extragalactic dust. The balloon-borne instrument had five spectral bands spanning frequencies from 175 to 630 GHz. The telescope was a compact, 1 m, on-axis Cassegrain telescope designed to scan the sky at a fixed elevation of 78 degrees. The radiometer used cryogenic bolometers coupled to a single feed horn via a dichroic filter system. The observing strategy was intended to efficiently cover a region 48 degrees in diameter centered on the south polar cap with a highly cross-linked and redundant pattern with nearly uniform sky coverage. The Long Duration Balloon flight over Antarctica in 2001 January surveyed about 6% of the sky. Here we describe the design of the instrument and the achieved in-flight performance and provide a brief discussion of the data analysis.
Original languageEnglish
JournalAstrophysical Journal Supplement Series
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)59-75
Publication statusPublished - 2005


  • cosmic microwave background
  • cosmology : observations
  • galaxies : general
  • balloons


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