The Lunar Observer radio astronomy experiment (LORAE)
We propose to place a simple low frequency dipole antenna on board the Lunar Observer (LO) satellite. LO will orbit the Moon in the mid-1990's, mapping the surface at high resolution and gathering new geophysical data. In its modest concept, LORAE will collect crucial data on the radio interference environment while on the near-side (to aid in planning future arrays) and will monitor bursts of emission from the Sun and the Jovian planets. LORAE will also be capable of lunar occultation studies of >100 of the brightest sources, gathering arcminute resolution one-D data on sizes and measuring source fluxes. A low resolution all-sky map below 10 MHz, when combined with data from the Gamma-ray Observatory, will uniquely determine the density of galactic cosmic ray electrons and the strength of the Galaxy's magnetic field. LORAE also will be able to measure the density of the Moon's ionosphere -- presently poorly known but important for future lunar-based low frequency arrays. This technically simple, low cost, light weight experiment could provide a significant first step in space-based low frequency astronomy.
KeywordsSolar Wind Lunar Surface Lunar Orbit Jovian Planet Single Dipole
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