Balloon-borne Large-Aperture Submillimeter Telescope

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Balloon Launch
BLAST shortly after launch.
Photo by G. Marsden.

News: We are now building a next generation BLAST Polarimeter, which will launch in Dec 2017.
Check out our new website for more information!

UPDATE(08/16/16): Data from Gandilo et al. 2016 and Fissel et al. 2016
can be requested by emailing lfissel[AT]

Photo blog of BLAST-Pol Antarctic Campaign online.
Additional photos on flickr by: Matthew, Juan, & Tristan.

For previous BLAST info, including photos and a press release, see the press page.
For general information about the previous flights, see the flights page.
For the scientific papers including the published maps, see the results page.


The original stated motivation for building BLAST was:
BLAST, or the “Balloon-borne Large-Aperture Sub-millimeter Telescope,” will fly from a Long Duration Balloon (LDB) platform and incorporate a 2-meter primary mirror with large-format bolometer arrays operating at 250, 350, and 500 μm. By providing the first sensitive large-area (~0.5-40 deg²) submillimeter surveys at these wavelengths, BLAST will address some of the most important cosmological and Galactic questions regarding the formation and evolution of stars, galaxies and clusters.

BLAST's primary goals are to:

  • Measure photometric redshifts, rest-frame FIR luminosities and star formation rates of high-redshift starburst galaxies, thereby constraining the evolutionary history of those galaxies that produce the FIR/submillimeter background
  • Measure cold pre-stellar sources associated with the earliest stages of star and planet formation
  • Make high-resolution maps of diffuse galactic emission over a wide range of galactic latitudes

Through its 3 science flights, BLAST has succeeded in all of these goals!

Send questions or comments to Mark Devlin