To study stars, pollution, Hyderabad’s TIFR readies balloon flights | india-news | Hindustan Times
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To study stars, pollution, Hyderabad’s TIFR readies balloon flights

Equipped with telescopes, balloons will be launched between November 16 and April 10

india Updated: Nov 10, 2016 18:21 IST
Srinivasa Rao Apparasu
A woman covers her face with a scarf as she walks down the street in New Delhi on November 10. Schools were closed in the city for three days due to rising pollution levels.
A woman covers her face with a scarf as she walks down the street in New Delhi on November 10. Schools were closed in the city for three days due to rising pollution levels.(AFP)

The Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR) will launch a series of balloon flights beginning November 15 for various scientific studies, including pollution.

TIFR’s balloon facility at Hyderabad will conduct 10 flights till April 10, 2017. According to B Suneel Kumar, scientist in-charge of the facility, the studies would be conducted with the help on the department of atomic energy and Indian Space Research Organisation (Isro).

“It would study the impact of various radiations emanating from stars... on the Earth’s surface,” Kumar told HT. Normally, huge telescopes were required for such work. “So, we install smaller telescopes in the balloons and send them into the atmosphere up to 30-43 km distance from the Earth’s surface to collect data,” he said.

The balloons would also be used to study pollution. Instruments installed in the balloons can measure the spread of black carbon particles over 1km to 13km above Earth’s surface, which would allow Isro to assess the extent of global warming caused by carbon emissions.

Made of twin polythene films, the balloons are huge – with diameter ranging from 50-85 metres, the size of a football field.

According to a TIFR release, the balloons will drift on the Visakhapatnam-Hyderabad-Sholapur line. Kumar requested people not to remove the instruments and get in touch with the addresses printed on them.