Overview, design, and flight results from SuperBIT: A high-resolution, wide-field, visible-to-near-UV balloon-borne astronomical telescope

L. Javier Romualdez, Steven J. Benton, Anthony M. Brown, Paul Clark, Christopher J. Damaren, Tim Eifler, Aurelien A. Fraisse, Mathew N. Galloway, John W. Hartley, Mathilde Jauzac, William C. Jones, Lun Li, Thuy Vy T. Luu, Richard J. Massey, Jacqueline McCleary, C. Barth Netterfield, Susan Redmond, Jason D. Rhodes, Jürgen Schmoll, Sut Ieng Tam

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Balloon-borne astronomy is a unique tool that allows for a level of image stability and significantly reduced atmospheric interference without the often prohibitive cost and long development time-scale that are characteristic of space-borne facility-class instruments. The Super-pressure Balloon-borne Imaging Telescope (SuperBIT) is a wide-field imager designed to provide 0.02" image stability over a 0.5 degree field-of-view for deep exposures within the visible-to-near-UV (300-900 um). As such, SuperBIT is a suitable platform for a wide range of balloon-borne observations, including solar and extrasolar planetary spectroscopy as well as resolved stellar populations and distant galaxies. We report on the overall payload design and instrumentation methodologies for SuperBIT as well as telescope and image stability results from two test flights. Prospects for the SuperBIT project are outlined with an emphasis on the development of a fully operational, three-month science flight from New Zealand in 2020.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalUnknown Journal
StatePublished - Jul 8 2018

Keywords

  • Diffraction limited
  • Exoplanet spectroscopy
  • High-resolution
  • Scientific ballooning
  • Strong lensing
  • Sub-arcsecond stability
  • Super-pressure balloon platform
  • Three-axis stabilization
  • UV photometry
  • Visible-to-near-UV
  • Weak lensing
  • Wide-field

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General

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