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COBE Spacecraft Thumbnail. COBE Engineering Information
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Infrared Bolometers

Art Serlemitsos


Image of COBE bolometer D

The Far Infrared Absolute Spectrophotometer ( FIRAS) and Diffuse Infrared Background Experiment (DIRBE) instruments on COBE require bolometers with short time constant, high throughput, low Noise Equivalent Power (NEP) and immunity to microphonic noise. Art Serlemitsos developed state-of-the-art composite bolometers that surpassed requirements in each area, with sensitivity more than an order of magnitude better than required. As a result, data from COBE demonstrated the most precise measurement of the far infrared cosmic background ever obtained. Here is a map of a section of the sky, as revealed by the long wavelength (Band 10) DIRBE bolometers. It shows a section of our galaxy, the Milky Way (one of the obstacles that stood between COBE scientists and a clear view of the background radiation.)

Disassembled Bolometer Head

Image of the disassembled bolometer head. D
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Curator: Mark O. Kimball
NASA Official: Eric A. Silk
Last Updated: 09/11/2014