Science on Tap: The Inflated Case of the Cosmic Rays: Searching for charged particles with a stratospheric balloon mission. Sarah Mechbal Physics Department, UCSC

May 29 @ 9:00pm

Free in the Crepe Place Garden


Over a centenary since their discovery, cosmic rays keep on bewildering those who pause and ponder about them. Their breadth is grand: these highly energetic charged particles span 15 orders of magnitude in energy, and the information they encode proves a crucial handle on the astrophysical process within our Galaxy. Originating from yet unresolved sources (galactic or extra-galactic), cosmic rays travel across the interstellar medium, to one day find themselves at the boundary of the heliosphere, our region of space where the magnetized solar wind significantly alters their propagation. In this talk, I will introduce the AESOP-Lite balloon-borne mission, a cosmic rays particle detector built with the express purpose of studying the effects of this so-called solar modulation. The instrument had its inaugural flight on a NASA scientific balloon in May 2018. For 5 days, it floated through the stratosphere from its launch in Sweden, across the Arctic to Ellesmere Island, Canada. Going behind the scenes and above the Earth, this talk aims to infuse the spirit of scientific adventure that has captured cosmic rays physicists for over a hundred years now.