The upcoming balloon campaign of the Compton Spectrometer and Imager (COSI)

J. L. Chiu, S. E. Boggs, H. K. Chang, J. A. Tomsick, A. Zoglauer, M. Amman, Y. H. Chang, Y. Chou, P. Jean, C. Kierans, C. H. Lin, A. Lowell, J. R. Shang, C. H. Tseng, P. Von Ballmoos, C. Y. Yang

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19 Scopus citations


The Compton Spectrometer and Imager (COSI), formerly known as the Nuclear Compton Telescope (NCT), is a balloon-borne soft gamma-ray telescope (0.2-5 MeV) designed to study astrophysical sources of nuclear-line emission and gamma-ray polarization. The heart of COSI is a compact array of cross-strip germanium detectors (GeDs), providing excellent spectral resolution (~0.2-1%) and the capability to track individual photon interactions with full 3D position resolution to 1.6 mm3. COSI is built upon considerable heritage from the previous NCT balloon instrument, which has flown successfully on two conventional balloon flights to date. The Crab Nebula was detected at a significance of 6σ in the second flight, which is the first reported detection of an astrophysical source by a compact Compton telescope. COSI has been upgraded from the previous NCT instrument to be an Ultra Long Duration Balloon (ULDB) payload, utilizing a new detector configuration optimized for polarization sensitivity and employing a mechanical cryocooler to remove consumables (LN2) for ULDB flights. The instrument is being integrated for a ULDB flight in December 2014 from Antarctica on a superpressure balloon. Here we will present the redesign of the instrument and our current progress in preparing for the flight.


  • Balloon
  • Compton telescope
  • Gamma-ray
  • Imaging spectroscopy


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