A new telescope wants to gain media attention this 2022, it is ASTHROS (Astrophysical Stratospheric Telescope NASA for high spectral resolution observations at submillimeter wavelengths), which will float from the South Pole to see “star killers.”
NASA intends to fly the instrument at an altitude of 130,000 feet (40,000 meters) through a balloon larger than a football field, deploying it over Antarctica for up to four weeks.
High in the stratosphere, ASTHROS will observe wavelengths of light that are blocked by Earth’s atmosphere, in a range called the far infrared. Its large mirror will improve the telescope’s ability to observe fainter light sources and resolve finer details from those sources.
Many processes contribute to feedback, including the eruptions of living stars and the explosive deaths of massive stars as supernovae. ASTHROS will observe various star-forming regions in our galaxy where these processes take place, creating high-resolution 3D maps of the distribution and movement of the gas. The mission will also observe distant galaxies containing millions of stars to see how the feedback plays out on a large scale and in different environments.
“It’s hard to explore feedback from where it originates, at the scale of individual stars, to where it has an effect, at the scale of galaxies,” said Jorge Pineda, ASTHROS principal investigator at JPL. “With a large mirror we can connect those two.”