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PILOT (Polarized Instrument for Long wavelength Observation of the Tenuous interstellar medium) is a balloon-borne astrophysics experiment (CNES) designed for the measurement of the polarised light emmitted by interstellar dust grains.



Contact at IAS: Bruno Maffei


PILOT : a stratospheric balloon-borne instrument


Science objectives :

PILOT aims at measuring polarised emissions, in the sub-millimetric wavelength domain, that are due to the dust grains present in the Interstellar Medium of our Galaxy.

Instrumental concept :

The instrument, flown by a stratospheric balloon, is composed of a gondola and of a pointed payload. The pointed payload is composed of a telescope and of a photometer. The photometer will allow us to carry out observations in two spectral bands at 240μm and 550μm. It is made of a cryostat where all the different optics sit for the collection, analysis and filtering of light. All these elements are cooled down to below 3 degrees Kelvin. The core of the photometer is an ensemble of bolometric detectors containing 1024 pixels per band and cooled down to 300mK by a Helium 3 refrigerator. The photometer is under the responsibility of the IAS. 
The first flight occured the 20 September 2015.


Project status: 
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