Robust diffraction-limited near-infrared-to-near-ultraviolet wide-field imaging from stratospheric balloon-borne platforms - Super-pressure Balloon-borne Imaging Telescope performance

L. Javier Romualdez, Steven J. Benton, Anthony M. Brown, Paul Clark, Christopher J. Damaren, Tim Eifler, Aurelien A. Fraisse, Mathew N. Galloway, Ajay Gill, John W. Hartley, Bradley Holder, Eric M. Huff, Mathilde Jauzac, William C. Jones, David Lagattuta, Jason S.Y. Leung, Lun Li, Thuy Vy T. Luu, Richard J. Massey, Jacqueline McClearyJames Mullaney, Johanna M. Nagy, C. Barth Netterfield, Susan Redmond, Jason D. Rhodes, Jürgen Schmoll, Mohamed M. Shaaban, Ellen Sirks, Sut Ieng Tam

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

At a fraction of the total cost of an equivalent orbital mission, scientific balloon-borne platforms, operating above 99.7% of the Earth's atmosphere, offer attractive, competitive, and effective observational capabilities - namely, space-like seeing, transmission, and backgrounds - which are well suited for modern astronomy and cosmology. The Super-pressure Balloon-borne Imaging Telescope (SUPERBIT) is a diffraction-limited, wide-field, 0.5 m telescope capable of exploiting these observing conditions in order to provide exquisite imaging throughout the near-infrared to near-ultraviolet. It utilizes a robust active stabilization system that has consistently demonstrated a 48 mas 1σ sky-fixed pointing stability over multiple 1 h observations at float. This is achieved by actively tracking compound pendulations via a three-axis gimballed platform, which provides sky-fixed telescope stability at < 500 mas and corrects for field rotation, while employing high-bandwidth tip/tilt optics to remove residual disturbances across the science imaging focal plane. SUPERBIT's performance during the 2019 commissioning flight benefited from a customized high-fidelity science-capable telescope designed with an exceptional thermo- and opto-mechanical stability as well as a tightly constrained static and dynamic coupling between high-rate sensors and telescope optics. At the currently demonstrated level of flight performance, SUPERBIT capabilities now surpass the science requirements for a wide variety of experiments in cosmology, astrophysics, and stellar dynamics.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number034501
JournalReview of Scientific Instruments
Volume91
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 1 2020

    Fingerprint

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Instrumentation

Cite this

Romualdez, L. J., Benton, S. J., Brown, A. M., Clark, P., Damaren, C. J., Eifler, T., Fraisse, A. A., Galloway, M. N., Gill, A., Hartley, J. W., Holder, B., Huff, E. M., Jauzac, M., Jones, W. C., Lagattuta, D., Leung, J. S. Y., Li, L., Luu, T. V. T., Massey, R. J., ... Tam, S. I. (2020). Robust diffraction-limited near-infrared-to-near-ultraviolet wide-field imaging from stratospheric balloon-borne platforms - Super-pressure Balloon-borne Imaging Telescope performance. Review of Scientific Instruments, 91(3), [034501]. https://doi.org/10.1063/1.5139711