Polarized thermal emission from interstellar dust grains can be used to map magnetic fields in star forming molecular clouds and the diffuse interstellar medium (ISM). The Balloon-borne Large Aperture Submillimeter Telescope for Polarimetry (BLASTPol) flew from Antarctica in 2010 and 2012 and produced degree-scale polarization maps of several nearby molecular clouds with arcminute resolution. The success of BLASTPol has motivated a next-generation instrument, BLAST-TNG, which will use more than 3000 linear polarization- sensitive microwave kinetic inductance detectors (MKIDs) combined with a 2.5 m diameter carbon fiber primary mirror to make diffraction-limited observations at 250, 350, and 500 µm. With 16 times the mapping speed of BLASTPol, sub-arcminute resolution, and a longer flight time, BLAST-TNG will be able to examine nearby molecular clouds and the diffuse galactic dust polarization spectrum in unprecedented detail. The 250 μm detec- tor array has been integrated into the new cryogenic receiver, and is undergoing testing to establish the optical and polarization characteristics of the instrument. BLAST-TNG will demonstrate the effectiveness of kilo-pixel MKID arrays for applications in submillimeter astronomy. BLAST-TNG is scheduled to fly from Antarctica in December 2017 for 28 days and will be the first balloon-borne telescope to offer a quarter of the flight for “shared risk” observing by the community.
The Balloon-borne Large Aperture Submillimeter Telescope for Polarimetry (BLASTPol) is a suborbital mapping experiment designed to study the role magnetic fields play in star formation. BLASTPol has had two science flights from McMurdo Station, Antarctica in 2010 and 2012. These flights have produced thousands of polarization vectors at 250, 350 and 500 microns in several molecular cloud targets. We present the design, specifications, and progress towards the next-generation BLASTPol experiment (BLAST-TNG). BLAST-TNG will fly a 40% larger diameter primary mirror, with almost 8 times the number of polarization-sensitive detectors resulting in a factor of 16 increase in mapping speed. With a spatial resolution of 2200 and four times the field of view (340 arcmin2) of BLASTPol, BLAST-TNG will bridge the angular scales between Planck's all-sky maps with 50 resolution and ALMA's ultra-high resolution narrow (~ 2000) fields. The new receiver has a larger cryogenics volume, allowing for a 28 day hold time. BLAST-TNG employs three arrays of Microwave Kinetic Inductance Detectors (MKIDs) with 30% fractional bandwidth at 250, 350 and 500 microns. In this paper, we will present the new BLAST-TNG instrument and science objectives.
The Portuguese coastline, like many other worldwide coastlines, is often submitted to several types of extreme events resulting in erosion, thus, acquisition of high quality field measurements has become a common concern. The nearshore survey systems have been traditionally based on in situ measurements or in the use of satellite or aircraft mounted remote sensing systems. As an alternative, video-monitoring systems proved to be an economic and efficient way to collect useful and continuous data, and to document extreme events. In this context, is under development the project MoZCo (Advanced Methodologies and Techniques Development for Coastal Zone Monitoring), which intends to develop and implement monitoring techniques for the coastal zone based on a low cost video monitoring system. The pilot study area is Ofir beach (north of Portugal), a critical coastal area. In the beginning of this project (2010) a monitoring video station was developed, collecting snapshots and 10 minutes videos every hour. In order to process the data, several video image processing algorithms were implemented in Matlab®, allowing achieve the main video-monitoring system products, such as, the shoreline detection. An algorithm based on image processing techniques was developed, using the HSV color space, the idea is to select a study and a sample area, containing pixels associated with dry and wet regions, over which a thresholding and some morphological operators are applied. After comparing the results with manual digitalization, promising results were achieved despite the method’s simplicity, which is in continuous development in order to optimize the results.