balloon astronomy[bə′lün ə′strän·ə·mē]
the name adopted for astronomical observations made from aerostats flying freely in the atmosphere. The birth of balloon astronomy is associated with a desire to eliminate the influence of the lower layers of the earth’s atmosphere, which limit the resolution of telescopes, and to expand the range under research in the area of infrared radiation, which is absorbed by water vapor when observations are made from the earth’s surface. In balloon astronomy, telescopes with a diameter of up to 1 meter are used; they operate at altitudes of up to 27–30 km. Research is done chiefly on the sun and the planets. In the USSR work in the area of balloon astronomy has been under way since 1966.
G. A. LEIKIN