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Home > News and Updates > NASA's SOFIA to Embark on New Cycle of Science Observations

 

SOFIA Mirror Cleaned to Prepare for Next Missions

Image and video below

October 4, 2012

The 2.5-meter mirror on NASA's Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy telescope was cleaned recently in preparation for its first full cycle of science observations. Telescope technicians at the Dryden Aircraft Operations Facility used water, a mild detergent and a small filtered blower to remove dust and other material that had adhered to the mirror's surface.

The mirror on NASA's Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy was cleaned in preparation for the first full cycle of science observations. Because contamination of the optics builds up over time, the telescope cavity of the heavily modified 747 is designed to serve as a clean environment. This enables technicians to clean the mirror without having to remove it from the aircraft. Thus, while the aircraft and its systems were upgraded at NASA's Dryden Aircraft Operations Facility in Palmdale, California, telescope technicians used water, a mild detergent and a small filtered blower to remove dust and other material that had adhered to the mirror's surface. This is in preparation for the next astronomy observation period, known as Cycle 1, which will begin in late 2012 and continue through December 2013.

Nicholas A. Veronico
Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, Calif.
650-604-4589
nveronico@sofia.usra.edu

Beth Hagenauer
Dryden Flight Research Center, Edwards, Calif.
661-276-7960
beth.hagenauer-1@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

Science flight on SOFIA

His work illuminated by a small flashlight in the darkened telescope cavity, a technician carefully squirts a solution of mild detergent and water as he washes the surface of the 2.5-meter diameter primary mirror on the SOFIA observatory's high-tech infrared telescope. (NASA Dryden video image)  

 

 

 


 

 

 

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