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2011 AAPT Summer Meeting
July 30-August 3, 2011
Omaha, Nebraska

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Skylight Polarization from a Balloon Flight
  Location: KFC Courts
  Date: Sunday, Jul.31
  Time: 8:00 PM -10:00 PM
  Author: Jeffrey Lind, University of Minnesota, Morris
  Co-Author(s): Gordon C. McIntosh
  Abstract: This research project attempted to measure the polarization of skylight as a function of altitude using a balloon-based polarimeter. The hypothesis was that as altitude increases the model of a Rayleigh sky (single scatters from very small particles) improves because the likelihood of multiple scatters and the aerosol density decrease. The polarimeter utilized eight LED light detectors with seven detectors filtered by linear polarizers at increments of ~26 degrees and one unfiltered detector. The filtered detectors were calibrated by the unfiltered detector. Directional measurements were made using an accelerometer and compass. With directional information, the measured degree of polarization can be compared directly to the Rayleigh sky model. This experiment was sponsored by a University of Minnesota Undergraduate Research Opportunity Program grant.
  Footnotes: Gordon McIntosh is an AAPT member.
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