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The Balloon-borne Large Aperture Submillimetre Telescope (BLAST) and BLASTPol

  • Enzo Pascale (a1) and for the BLAST and BLASTPol collaboration

Abstract

Balloon observations from Antarctica have proven an effective and efficient way to address open Cosmological questions as well as problems in Galactic astronomy. The Balloon-borne Large Aperture Submillimetre Telescope (BLAST) is a sub-orbital mapping experiment which uses 270 bolometric detectors to image the sky in three wavebands centred at 250, 350 and 500 μm with a 1.8 m telescope. In the years before Herschel launched, BLAST provided data of unprecedented angular and spectral coverage in frequency bands close to the peak of dust emission in star forming regions in our Galaxy, and in galaxies at cosmological distances. More recently, BLASTPol was obtained by reconfiguring the BLAST focal plane as a submillimetric polarimeter to study the role that Galactic magnetic fields have in regulating the processes of star-formation. The first and successful BLASTPol flight from Antarctica in 2010 is followed by a second flight, currently scheduled for the end of 2012.

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