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.
Level of Degree
Physics & Astronomy
First Committee Member (Chair)
Christopher Pratt Leavitt
Second Committee Member
David Solomon King
Third Committee Member
Howard Carnes Bryant
Place, James R.. "First Measurements of Earth Albedo Neutrons in Space." (1972). https://digitalrepository.unm.edu/phyc_etds/234