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Astrophysics Luncheon Seminar

Astronomy and Cosmology from the Suborbital Environment: The Prospects and the Perils of Scientific Ballooning
Presented by Javier Romualdez
Princeton University

Monday, March 16, 2020
Virtual Event starts at 12:00 noon

Although often utilized as one of the first stepping stones towards demonstration or flight qualification of technologies for space-borne missions, balloon-borne instrumentation over the past two decades has - in its own right - proven to be an effective means through which high-profile and leading edge scientific studies can be undertaken. As a catalyst for both new technologies as well as scientific advancement, the idea of scientific ballooning offers an effectively space-like yet cost- and time-effective option for astronomical and cosmological research that can precede similarly scaled space-borne missions by several years or more. Presented here is a technical and science-driven overview of three such scientific balloon-borne instruments: (1) the Super-pressure Balloon-borne Imaging telescope (SuperBIT), a wide-field, three-axis-stabilized, diffraction-limited imager in the optical-to-near-UV designed for weak lensing and galaxy cluster studies; (2) Spider2, a three-band microwave scanning polarimeter targeted at the B-mode signature of primordial gravitation waves in the cosmic microwave background (CMB); and (3) the Balloon-borne Large Aperture Sub-millimeter Telescope (BLAST-TNG), a sub-millimeter scanning polarimeter designed to study the effects of magnetic fields in galactic star forming regions. For each mission, the engineering complexities pertaining to suborbital environment and overall instrument performance within the context of science-driven requirements are presented with a discussion on how each has contributed and hopes to continue to contribute to their respective fields in the near future.

JPL Contact: Jacqueline McCleary (4-9886)

SVCP Astrophysics

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