The stratospheric terahertz observatory


The Stratospheric TeraHertz Observatory (STO) is a NASA funded, Long Duration Balloon (LDB) experiment designed to address a key problem in modern astrophysics: understanding the Life Cycle of the Interstellar Medium (ISM). STO is a SORAL project and will survey a section of the Galactic plane in the dominant interstellar cooling line [C II] (1.9 THz) and the important star formation tracer [N II] (1.46 THz) at ~1 arc minute angular resolution, sufficient to spatially resolve atomic, ionic and molecular clouds at 10 kpc. STO itself has three main components; 1) an 80 cm optical telescope, 2) a THz instrument package, and 3) a gondola. The engineering test flight of STO was from NASA’s Scientific Balloon Flight Facility in Ft. Sumner, NM on October 15, 2009. Test flight instrumentation was used to evaluate STO’s ability to point and track using gyroscopes/star cameras with a load varying, cryogenic system onboard.

The University of Cologne also has an STO webage.

The 2011-2012 Antarctica Campaign has begun!!!  Read the Official STO Blog!

Logo Credit: Zac Finger

Welcome to the sto webpage!