Submillimeter Dust Polarimetry with the BLAST-TNG Telescope

Ward-Thompson, Derek orcid iconORCID: 0000-0003-1140-2761 (2015) Submillimeter Dust Polarimetry with the BLAST-TNG Telescope. In: The 225th AAS Meeting, 4-8 January 2015, Washington State Convention & Trade Center in Seattle, WA..

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Polarized thermal emission from dust grains can be used to trace magnetic fields in molecular clouds and the ISM. The Balloon-borne Large Aperture Submillimeter Telescope for Polarimetry (BLASTPol) flew from Antarctica in 2010 and 2012 and has produced degree scale polarization maps of multiple nearby molecular clouds with arcminute resolution. The success of BLASTPol has motivated a next-generation instrument, BLAST-TNG, with additional resolution and sensitivity to fully understand the role magnetic fields play in the early stages of the star formation process. BLAST-TNG will use an array of ~1500 linear polarization sensitive pixels populated with Microwave Kinetic Inductance Detectors (MKIDs) combined with a 2.5 m diameter carbon fiber primary mirror to make diffraction limited observations at 250, 350, and 500 microns. With 16 times the mapping speed of BLASTPol, sub-arcminute resolution, and a longer flight time, BLAST-TNG will be able to examine nearby molecular clouds and the diffuse galactic dust polarization spectrum in unprecedented detail. Additionally, the instrument will be in a unique position to link the all-sky, five arcminute resolution, dust polarization maps of Planck with the high resolution, but small area, polarization maps from ALMA allowing us to trace magnetic fields from protostellar cores out to the surrounding molecular clouds and ISM. BLAST-TNG is scheduled to fly from Antarctica in 2016 for 28 days and will be the first balloon-borne telescope to offer a quarter of the flight for "shared risk" observing by the community.

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