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BLAST: Balloon-borne Large Aperture Telescope

Link to BLAST Web site

I. General project/facility description

  1. Overview of the facility/project
    BLAST, the "Balloon-borne Large-Aperture Sub-millimeter Telescope," will fly from a Long Duration Balloon (LDB) platform and incorporate a 2-meter primary mirror with large-format bolometer arrays operating at 250, 350 and 500 µ. By providing the first sensitive large-area (~0.5-40 square degrees) submillimeter surveys at these wavelengths, BLAST will address some of the most important cosmological and Galactic questions regarding the formation and evolution of stars, galaxies and clusters.

    Managing institution and organization
  2. Funding source(s)
  3. Construction history and cost
  4. Operational history and cost

II. Technical details

  1. Specifics of telescope/instrument
    The BLAST gondola incorporates a 2 m primary mirror, a 50 cm diameter correcting secondary mirror, and a rigid support structure for the secondary. The secondary mirror has been designed to give diffraction limited performance over a 14' x 7' FOV at the Cassegrain focus at λ = 250 µ. The estimated antenna efficiency is >=80%, and is determined by a combination of the 5 µ rms surface accuracy of the primary and the quality of the re-imaging optics.

    Radiation from the telescope will enter the cryostat through a 7.7 cm diameter vacuum window near the Cassegrain focus. The f/5 Cassegrain focus of the telescope is about 18 cm behind the back surface of the primary mirror. The cryostat window will be made from 0.002 inch thick polypropylene, which has <0.1% loss. Blocking filters at the intermediate cold stages of 77 K and 20 K will reduce the radiation loading on the LHe to <10 mW.

  2. New capabilities anticipated/planned in next 5-10 years
    Future facility: NA

III. User profile

  1. % of "open skies" time
  2. Institutional affiliations of users
    BLAST participants come from the Universities of Pennsylvania, Brown, Miami, Toronto, British Columbia, and Cardiff as well as JPL and INAOE, Mexico.

  3. Student access, involvement, usage

IV. Science Overview

  1. Current forefront scientific programs
    Future facility: NA

  2. Major discoveries (through 1999)
    Future facility: NA

  3. Science highlights of last 5 years
    Future facility: NA

  4. Main future science questions to be addressed
    BLAST's primary goals are to:
  5. Synergies with other major forefront facilities
  6. Unique contributions

V. Education/Outreach activities

  1. Visitor facility
  2. Student programs
  3. Other (as apply)

VI. Documentation/website URLs

  1. URL of facility website
    http://chile1.physics.upenn.edu/blastpublic

  2. URL of EPO website
  3. URL(s) of any brief overviews of project/facility
  4. URL(s) of miscellaneous documentation

This page created and maintained for the RMSPG by Martha Haynes
Last modified: Sat Feb 12 16:19:48 EST 2005