The Balloon-borne Large-Aperture Submillimeter Telescope for polarization: BLAST-pol

G. Marsden, P. A.R. Ade, S. Benton, J. J. Bock, E. L. Chapin, J. Chung, M. J. Devlin, S. Dicker, L. Fissel, M. Griffin, J. O. Gundersen, M. Halpern, P. C. Hargrave, D. H. Hughes, J. Klein, A. Korotkov, C. J. MacTavish, P. G. Martin, T. G. Martin, T. G. MatthewsP. Mauskopf, L. Moncelsi, C. B. Netterfield, G. Novak, E. Pascale, L. Olmi, G. Patanchon, M. Rex, G. Savini, D. Scott, C. Semisch, N. Thomas, M. D.P. Truch, C. Tucker, G. S. Tucker, M. P. Viero, D. Ward-Thompson, D. V. Wiebe

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

12 Scopus citations


The Balloon-borne Large Aperture Submillimeter Telescope (BLAST) is a sub-orbital experiment designed to study the process of star formation in local galaxies (including the Milky Way) and in galaxies at cosmological distances. Using a 2 m Cassegrain telescope, BLAST images the sky onto a focal plane, which consists of 270 bolometric detectors split between three arrays, observing simultaneously in 30% wide bands, centered at 250, 350, and 500μm. The diffraction-limited optical system provides a resolution of 30″ at 250 μm. The pointing system enables raster-like scans with a positional accuracy of ∼ ″, reconstructed to better than 5″ rms in post-flight analysis. BLAST had two successful flights, from the Arctic in 2005, and from Antarctica in 2006, which provided the first high-resolution and large-area (∼ 0.8-200 deg2) submillimeter surveys at these wavelengths. As a pathfinder for the SPIRE instrument on Herschel, BLAST shares with the ESA satellite similar focal plane technology and scientific motivation. A third flight in 2009 will see the instrument modified to be polarization-sensitive (BLAST-pol). With its unprecedented mapping speed and resolution, BLAST-pol will provide insights into Galactic star-forming nurseries, and give the necessary link between the larger, coarse resolution surveys and the narrow, resolved observations of star-forming structures from space and ground based instruments being commissioned in the next 5 years.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationMillimeter and Submillimeter Detectors and Instrumentation for Astronomy IV
StatePublished - 2008
Externally publishedYes
EventMillimeter and Submillimeter Detectors and Instrumentation for Astronomy IV - Marseille, France
Duration: Jun 26 2008Jun 28 2008

Publication series

NameProceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering
ISSN (Print)0277-786X


OtherMillimeter and Submillimeter Detectors and Instrumentation for Astronomy IV


  • Balloons
  • Instrumentation:miscellaneous
  • Polarization
  • Stars:formation
  • Submillimeter

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Applied Mathematics
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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