Friday, December 29, 2006

BLAST flies again

BLAST, the Balloon-borne Large-Aperture Sub-millimeter Telescope, launched from the McMurdo Research Station in Antarctica on December 21Launched from the McMurdo Research Station in Antarctica on December 21. BLAST will address some of the most important galactic and cosmological questions regarding the formation and evolution of stars, galaxies and clusters.
The Canadian role in BLAST is to design and build the gondola, pointing system and control electronics. This is an ambitious project, requiring the largest payload which can be launched in Antarctica and as fine-tuned a pointing system as has been flown on a balloon in order to take advantage of our diffraction limited optics. We are working with AMEC, who have designed the telescope and gondola.
AMEC has been involved in Canadian astronomy projects since they helped construct the Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope in the 1970s.

BLAST had a flight in 2005 when it was launched from Sweden and landed in the Canadian artic. More information on BLAST can be found on the UBC website.

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