June 29, 2017

Review: Blast! A Film by Paul Devlin.

BLAST...Astrophysics Indiana Jones Style!

BLAST...Astrophysics Indiana Jones Style!

Blast! Can be seen as a documentary that was 13.7 billion years in the making. Directed by Paul Devlin, Blast! follows the exploits of a group of astrophysicists as they break new ground with a unique balloon borne telescope. BLAST stands for Balloon-Borne, Large Aperture Sub-millimeter Telescope. As reported earlier this week in our post “Antarctic Astronomy”, “Sub-millimeter” is the name loosely given to the wavelengths roughly between microwave and infra-red. [Read more...]

Astronomy at the (Bottom?) of the World.

The SPT 2007 Team. (Credit: John Kovac/GNU Free License).

The SPT 2007 Team. (Credit: John Kovac/GNU Free License).

Some astronomers literally go to the ends of the Earth in search of data. That life-giving layer we know as the atmosphere can also be a plain ol’ nuisance when it comes to visual observing, and can make viewing in some wavelengths such as sub-millimeter, infra-red and X-ray next to impossible. Sure, viewing from space alleviates the problem, but payload weight tends to go at a premium and the line is long to use such premiere space telescopes as Hubble or Chandra. The solution? Many astronomers have taken to the Antarctic in the past decades, were the air is thin, dry, and the wonders of the southern hemisphere abound. [Read more...]

June 2009 News & Notes.

Blast!

Blast! (Credit: Marc Halpern/the Blast Collaboration).

BLAST takes off! Recently, scientists got a look into some of the earliest moments of the universe. BLAST, the Balloon borne Large Aperture, Sub-millimeter Telescope, is an unlikely looking instrument in an unlikely place. Carried on a long tether and based in the Antarctic, BLAST can stay aloft for weeks at a time, observing the sky at very far infra-red frequencies. [Read more...]