by Thor Benson
Fort Sumner, N.M. (UPI) Sep 13, 2014
Scientists from NASA's Scientific Balloon Facility and Washington University in St. Louis will soon launch a telescope with a giant balloon, planning the launch for sometime later this month.
Reaching heights of around 120,000 feet, the balloon will carry a polarimeter telescope meant to search for black holes.
A polarimeter telescope measures a powerful kind of X-Ray that is emitted by objects being pulled into a black hole. Black holes don't even let light escape their incredible gravity, and that's why scientists need a certain kind of telescope that can identify the X-Rays on the fringes of the black hole, which will give them an idea of its size and rotation speed. Part of the goal of the mission is to test Einstein's theory of general relativity, which set certain parameters for how fast he believed a black hole can spin.
Livescience.com claims you could fit an entire 747 jetliner in the balloon being used to lift the telescope into the atmosphere, with an interior of 40 million cubic feet. There will be a live stream of the launch on NASA's website when it occurs.
Space Telescope News and Technology at Skynightly.com
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