The stratospheric observatory for infrared astronomy (SOFIA)

R. D. Gehrz, E. E. Becklin

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

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

The Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA) is a joint U.S./German Project to develop and operate a 2.5-meter infrared airborne telescope in a Boeing 747-SP that flies in the stratosphere at altitudes as high as 45,000 and is capable of observations from 0.3 μm to 1.6 mm with an average transmission greater than 80 percent. SOFIA will be staged out of the NASA Dryden Flight Research Center aircraft operations facility at Palmdale, CA and the SOFIA Science Mission Operations Center (SSMOC) will be located at NASA Ames Research Center, Moffet Field, CA. First science flights will begin in 2010 and a full operations schedule of more than 100 8 to 10 hour flights per year will be reached by 2014. The observatory is expected to operate until the mid 2030's. SOFIA will initially fly with eight focal plane instruments that include broadband imagers, moderate resolution spectrographs that will resolve broad features due to dust and large molecules, and high resolution spectrometers capable of studying the kinematics of molecular and atomic gas lines at km/s resolution. We describe the SOFIA facility and outline the opportunities for observations by the general scientific community, future instrumentation developments, and operations collaborations. The operational characteristics of the SOFIA first-generation instruments are summarized and we give several specific examples of the types of scientific studies to which these instruments are expected to make fundamental scientific contributions. Additional information about SOFIA is available at http://www.sofia.usra.edu.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publication21st International Symposium on Space Terahertz Technology 2010, ISSTT 2010
Pages1-10
Number of pages10
StatePublished - Dec 1 2010
Event21st International Symposium on Space Terahertz Technology 2010, ISSTT 2010 - Oxford, United Kingdom
Duration: Mar 23 2010Mar 25 2010

Publication series

Name21st International Symposium on Space Terahertz Technology 2010, ISSTT 2010

Other

Other21st International Symposium on Space Terahertz Technology 2010, ISSTT 2010
CountryUnited Kingdom
CityOxford
Period3/23/103/25/10

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