design element
SOFIA banner  
 
news image top News and Updates   
news image bottom
design element

 

Home > News and Updates > SOFIA Science Featured in The Astrophysical Journal Special Edition

 

 

SOFIA Science Featured in The Astrophysical Journal Special Edition

Images below

April 19, 2012

The Astrophysical Journal, a leading U.S. astronomy research publication, issued a special edition of its Letters volume on April 20 with papers about observations made with SOFIA.

SOFIA is a highly modified Boeing 747SP aircraft that carries a telescope with a 100-inch (2.5-meter) diameter reflecting mirror that conducts astronomy research not possible with ground-based telescopes. By operating in the stratosphere at altitudes up to 45,000 feet, SOFIA can make observations above the water vapor in Earth's lower atmosphere.

"This is really SOFIA's debut on the world scientific stage," said Chris Davis, SOFIA program scientist at NASA Headquarters in Washington. "World-class observatories such as the Hubble, Chandra and Spitzer space telescopes had their Astrophysical Journal special editions, and now SOFIA joins their prestigious ranks."

The eight SOFIA papers featured in the special edition cover diverse research on topics including SOFIA's capabilities as a flying observatory and its studies of star formation in our galaxy and beyond.

"Studies of star and planet formation processes are one of SOFIA's 'sweet spots,'" said SOFIA Science Mission Director Erick Young. "SOFIA's infrared instruments can see into the dense clouds where stars and planets are forming and detect heat radiation from their construction material. By getting above the Earth's atmospheric water vapor layer that blocks most of the infrared band, SOFIA's telescope can view the glow from forming stars at their strongest emission wavelengths."

The infrared images analyzed in these papers were obtained with the FORCAST (Faint Object Infrared Camera for the SOFIA Telescope) instrument during SOFIA's first science observations in December 2010. Papers based on observations with SOFIA and the GREAT spectrometer (German Receiver for Astronomy at THz Frequencies) will be published in a May 2012 special volume of the European journal Astronomy and Astrophysics.

SOFIA is a joint project of NASA and the German Aerospace Center and is based and managed at NASA's Dryden Aircraft Operations Facility in Palmdale, Calif. NASA's Ames Research Center at Moffett Field, Calif., manages the SOFIA science and mission operations in cooperation with the Universities Space Research Association, headquartered in Columbia, Md., and the German SOFIA Institute at the University of Stuttgart.

J.D. Harrington
Headquarters, Washington
202-358-5241
j.d.harrington@nasa.gov

Nicholas A. Veronico/Huong Nguyen
Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, Calif.
NV: 650-604-4589 / HN: 650-604-4789
nveronico@sofia.usra.edu / huong.nguyen@nasa.gov

For more information about SOFIA, visit:
http://www.nasa.gov/sofiahttp://www.dlr.de/en/sofia

For information about SOFIA's science mission, visit:
http://www.sofia.usra.eduhttp://www.dsi.uni-stuttgart.de/index.en.html

To view The Astrophysical Journal Letters containing the SOFIA papers, visit:
http://iopscience.iop.org/2041-8205/749/2

SOFIA over the Sierras

Full-size image

   
SOFIA flying above California’s snowy Sierra Nevada range during one of the first tests of the telescope door mechanism. (NASA / Jim Ross)  

 

FORCAST on SOFIA

Full-size image

   

FORCAST (Faint Object Infrared Camera for the SOFIA Telescope) mounted on the SOFIA telescope's instrument flange that extends into the main cabin. (NASA / FORCAST team)

 

 

 


 

 

Page Last Updated: March 29, 2012>

 

  design element
design element
design element
design element