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15 July 2010 The balloon-borne large-aperture submillimeter telescope for polarimetry: BLAST-Pol
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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.
© (2010) COPYRIGHT Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE). Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.


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