Stratospheric observatory for infrared astronomy (SOFIA)

E. E. Becklin, R. D. Gehrz

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

14 Scopus citations


The joint U.S. and German SOFIA project to develop and operate a 2.5-meter infrared airborne telescope in a Boeing 747-SP is in its final stages of development. Flying in the stratosphere, SOFIA allows observations throughout the infrared and submillimeter region, with an average transmission of greater than 80%. SOFIA's first generation instrument complement includes high-speed photometers, broadband imagers, moderate resolution spectrographs capable of resolving broad features due to dust and large molecules, and high resolution spectrometers suitable for kinematic studies of molecular and atomic gas lines at km/s resolution. These instruments will enable SOFIA to make unique contributions to a broad array of science topics. First science flights will begin in 2010, and the observatory is expected to operate for more than 20 years. The sensitivity, characteristics, science instrument complement, future instrument opportunities and examples of first light science will be discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationInfrared Spaceborne Remote Sensing and Instrumentation XVII
StatePublished - 2009
EventInfrared Spaceborne Remote Sensing and Instrumentation XVII - San Diego, CA, United States
Duration: Aug 5 2009Aug 6 2009

Publication series

NameProceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering
ISSN (Print)0277-786X


OtherInfrared Spaceborne Remote Sensing and Instrumentation XVII
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CitySan Diego, CA


  • Airborne astronomy
  • Infrared astronomy
  • NASA
  • Submillimeter astronomy


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