SOFIA is an 80/20 partnership of NASA and the German Aerospace Center (DLR), consisting of an extensively modified Boeing 747SP aircraft carrying a 2.7-meter (106 inch) reflecting telescope (with an effective diameter of 2.5 meters or 100 inches). The aircraft is based at NASA's Armstrong Flight Research Center in Palmdale, Calif. The SOFIA Program Office is at NASA Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, Calif., which manages SOFIA's science and mission operations in cooperation with the Universities Space Research Association (USRA; Columbia, Md.) and the German SOFIA Institute (DSI; University of Stuttgart).

Returning to New Zealand: SOFIA Travels to Christchurch for a Seventh and Final Time

Arc-shaped SOFIA deployment patch showing SOFIA over New Zealand with Milky Way and Southern Cross

By Maggie McAdam

After a two-year hiatus, SOFIA has returned to Christchurch, New Zealand, for a long deployment. About once a year, SOFIA temporarily moves its operating home to better observe celestial objects in the Southern Hemisphere. There is always a high demand from the SOFIA scientific community to observe the southern skies, and SOFIA has been working to meet those needs.

RGB images of Cygnus X sub-regions with Spitzer and SOFIA FORCAST data

RGB images of Cygnus X sub-regions with R=Spitzer MIPS 24 band (left) and SOFIA FORCAST 31 band (right) showing that bright, clustered regions can be completely saturated in the MIPS data, while clearly revealed by SOFIA FORCAST. The upper pair shows the saturated cores and strong halos of bright sources. The lower pair shows a close-up of a saturated area of extended nebulosity. (Cheng et al. 2022)

More information.