The second generation Absolute Radiometer for Cosmology, Astrophysics, and Diffuse Emission (ARCADE 2) instrument is a balloon-borne experiment to measure the radiometric temperature of the cosmic microwave background and Galactic and extragalactic emission at six frequencies from 3 to 90 GHz. ARCADE 2 utilizes a double-nulled design where emission from the sky is compared to that from an external cryogenic full-aperture blackbody calibrator by cryogenic switching radiometers containing internal blackbody reference loads. In order to further minimize sources of systematic error, ARCADE 2 features a cold fully open aperture with all radiometrically active components maintained at near 2.7 K without windows or other warm objects, achieved through a novel thermal design. We discuss the design and performance of the ARCADE 2 instrument in its 2005 and 2006 flights.

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Copyright © 2011 The American Astronomical Society. This article first appeared in The Astrophysical Journal 730, no. 2 (April 01, 2011): 138. doi:10.1088/0004-637X/730/2/138.

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