Overview, design, and flight results from SuperBIT: A high-resolution, wide-field, visible-to-near-UV balloon-borne astronomical telescope

L. Javier Romualdez, Steven J. Benton, Anthony M. Brown, Paul Clark, Christopher J. Damaren, Tim Eifler, Aurelien A. Fraisse, Mathew N. Galloway, John W. Hartley, Mathilde Jauzac, William C. Jones, Lun Li, Thuy Vy T. Luu, Richard J. Massey, Jacqueline McCleary, C. Barth Netterfield, Susan Redmond, Jason D. Rhodes, Jürgen Schmoll, Sut Ieng Tam

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

9 Scopus citations


Balloon-borne astronomy is a unique tool that allows for a level of image stability and significantly reduced atmospheric interference without the often prohibitive cost and long development time-scale that are characteristic of space-borne facility-class instruments. The Super-pressure Balloon-borne Imaging Telescope (SuperBIT) is a wide-field imager designed to provide 0.02" image stability over a 0.5 degree field-of-view for deep exposures within the visible-to-near-UV (300-900 um). As such, SuperBIT is a suitable platform for a wide range of balloon-borne observations, including solar and extrasolar planetary spectroscopy as well as resolved stellar populations and distant galaxies. We report on the overall payload design and instrumentation methodologies for SuperBIT as well as telescope and image stability results from two test flights. Prospects for the SuperBIT project are outlined with an emphasis on the development of a fully operational, three-month science flight from New Zealand in 2020.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationGround-based and Airborne Instrumentation for Astronomy VII
EditorsLuc Simard, Luc Simard, Christopher J. Evans, Hideki Takami
ISBN (Print)9781510619579
StatePublished - 2018
EventGround-based and Airborne Instrumentation for Astronomy VII 2018 - Austin, United States
Duration: Jun 10 2018Jun 14 2018

Publication series

NameProceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering
ISSN (Print)0277-786X
ISSN (Electronic)1996-756X


OtherGround-based and Airborne Instrumentation for Astronomy VII 2018
Country/TerritoryUnited States

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

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


  • UV photometry
  • diffraction limited
  • exoplanet spectroscopy
  • high-resolution
  • scientific ballooning
  • strong lensing
  • sub-arcsecond stability
  • super-pressure balloon platform
  • three-axis stabilization
  • visible-to-near-UV
  • weak lensing
  • wide-field


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