Physics & Astronomy ETDs

Publication Date

Fall 12-8-1972


NASA satellite OSO-6 carried as part of its payload a proton recoil telescope capable of detecting neutrons between 40 and 200 MeV with directional discrimination. Sixteen months of data from this instrument were analyzed with a view to determining properties of the earth albedo neutron flux above the atmosphere.

The variation of albedo neutron flux with geomagnetic latitude was found to be 1:4 between 0° and 40°. The angular distribution shows that about 40% fewer neutrons come upward from directly beneath the satellite compared to the number coming from a direction tangential to the top of the atmosphere. These results are in reasonable agreement with predictions.

The energy spectrum between 50 and 150 MeV shows an intensity about a factor of 10 higher than has been predicted from extrapolation of lower energy calculations. These results are compared to other experiments and their significance is discussed with regard to a neutron decay source for the inner radiation zone.

Degree Name


Level of Degree


Department Name

Physics & Astronomy

First Committee Member (Chair)

Christopher Pratt Leavitt

Second Committee Member

David Solomon King

Third Committee Member

Howard Carnes Bryant

Document Type