The Next Generation BLAST Experiment

Nicholas Galitzki, Peter A.R. Ade, Francesco E. Angile, Peter Ashton, James A. Beall, Dan Becker, Kristi J. Bradford, George Che, Hsiao Mei Cho, Mark J. Devlin, Bradley J. Dober, Laura M. Fissel, Yasuo Fukui, Jiansong Gao, Christopher E. Groppi, Seth Hillbrand, Gene C. Hilton, Johannes Hubmayr, Kent D. Irwin, Jeffrey KleinJeff Van Lanen, Dale Li, Zhi Yun Li, Nathan P. Lourie, Hamdi Mani, Peter G. Martin, Philip Mauskopf, Fumitaka Nakamura, Giles Novak, David P. Pappas, Enzo Pascale, Giampaolo Pisano, Fabio P. Santos, Giorgio Savini, Douglas Scott, Sara Stanchfield, Carole Tucker, Joel N. Ullom, Matthew Underhill, Michael R. Vissers, Derek Ward-Thompson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

39 Scopus citations


The Balloon-borne Large Aperture Submillimeter Telescope for Polarimetry (BLASTPol) was a suborbital experiment designed to map magnetic fields in order to study their role in star formation processes. BLASTPol made detailed polarization maps of a number of molecular clouds during its successful flights from Antarctica in 2010 and 2012. We present the next-generation BLASTPol instrument (BLAST-TNG) that will build off the success of the previous experiment and continue its role as a unique instrument and a test bed for new technologies. With a 16-fold increase in mapping speed, BLAST-TNG will make larger and deeper maps. Major improvements include a 2.5-m carbon fiber mirror that is 40% wider than the BLASTPol mirror and ~3000 polarization sensitive detectors. BLAST-TNG will observe in three bands at 250, 350, and 500 μm. The telescope will serve as a pathfinder project for microwave kinetic inductance detector (MKID) technology, as applied to feedhorn-coupled submillimeter detector arrays. The liquid helium cooled cryostat will have a 28-day hold time and will utilize a closed-cycle 3He refrigerator to cool the detector arrays to 270 mK. This will enable a detailed mapping of more targets with higher polarization resolution than any other submillimeter experiment to date. BLAST-TNG will also be the first balloon-borne telescope to offer shared risk observing time to the community. This paper outlines the motivation for the project and the instrumental design.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number1440001
JournalJournal of Astronomical Instrumentation
Issue number2
StatePublished - Nov 1 2014


  • Submillimeter
  • balloon
  • polarization
  • star formation
  • telescope

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Instrumentation
  • Astronomy and Astrophysics


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