A team of astronomers and engineers at NASA, the University of Maryland, and Johns Hopkins
University are building a groundbreaking astrophysical observatory that will operate at the
wispy edges of the upper atmosphere. It's called BETTII: the Balloon Experimental Twin
Telescope for Infrared Interferometer. BETTII also has collaborators from the University College London and Cardiff University.
Flying on a high altitude balloon to 40,000
meters (130,000 feet), BETTII will provide access to the cosmos similar to that of an orbiting
observatory. BETTII will explore a region of the electromagnetic spectrum, the far-infrared
(FIR), using a technology called interferometry. Astronomers will gain a sharper, more
detailed view of star formation, galaxy evolution, and the formation of planetary systems
around other stars.
BETTII is a first step toward the coming era of space-based infrared interferometry,
enabling a technology that will transform astronomy and astrophysics. In addition, the project
relies substantially on the talents of undergraduate interns and student workers, graduate
students, and post-doctoral researchers. Involving young scientists and engineers with BETTII
will develop the technical and leadership expertise required for success in future space-based
To learn more about the BETTII mission and, see the About BETTII page. To find out
more about the research that will be done with the observatory, see the BETTII Science Goals page.
Please also read about the important contributions that students are making to the