The balloon-borne large-aperture submillimeter telescope for polarimetry: BLAST-Pol

Laura M. Fissel, Peter A.R. Ade, Francesco E. Angilè, Steven J. Benton, Edward L. Chapin, Mark J. Devlin, Natalie N. Gandilo, Joshua O. Gundersen, Peter C. Hargrave, David H. Hughes, Jeffrey Klein, Andrei L. Korotkov, Galen Marsden, Tristan G. Matthews, Lorenzo Moncelsi, Tony K. Mroczkowski, C. Barth Netterfield, Giles Novak, Luca Olmi, Enzo PascaleGiorgio Savini, Douglas Scott, Jamil A. Shariff, Juan Diego Soler, Nicholas E. Thomas, Matthew D.P. Truch, Carole E. Tucker, Gregory S. Tucker, Derek Ward-Thompson, Donald V. Wiebe

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

20 Scopus citations


The Balloon-borne Large Aperture Submillimeter Telescope for Polarimetry (BLAST-Pol) is a suborbital mapping experiment designed to study the role played by magnetic fields in the star formation process. BLAST-Pol is the reconstructed BLAST telescope, with the addition of linear polarization capability. Using a 1.8m Cassegrain telescope, BLAST-Pol images the sky onto a focal plane that consists of 280 bolometric detectors in three arrays, observing simultaneously at 250, 350, and 500μm. The diffraction-limited optical system provides a resolution of 30"at 250μm. The polarimeter consists of photolithographic polarizing grids mounted in front of each bolometer/ detector array. A rotating 4K achromatic half-wave plate provides additional polarization modulation. With its unprecedented mapping speed and resolution, BLAST-Pol will produce three-color polarization maps for a large number of molecular clouds. The instrument provides a much needed bridge in spatial coverage between larger-scale, coarse resolution surveys and narrow field of view, and high resolution observations of substructure within molecular cloud cores. The first science flight will be from McMurdo Station, Antarctica in December 2010.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationMillimeter, Submillimeter, and Far-Infrared Detectors and Instrumentation for Astronomy V
StatePublished - 2010
Externally publishedYes
EventMillimeter, Submillimeter, and Far-Infrared Detectors and Instrumentation for Astronomy V - San Diego, CA, United States
Duration: Jun 29 2010Jul 2 2010

Publication series

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


OtherMillimeter, Submillimeter, and Far-Infrared Detectors and Instrumentation for Astronomy V
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CitySan Diego, CA

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

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


  • balloons
  • dust emission
  • instrumentation: miscellaneous
  • polarization
  • stars: formation
  • submillimeter


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