SOFIA was a joint project of NASA and the German Space Agency at DLR. DLR provided the telescope, scheduled aircraft maintenance, and other support for the mission. NASA’s Ames Research Center in California’s Silicon Valley managed the SOFIA program, science, and mission operations in cooperation with the Universities Space Research Association, headquartered in Columbia, Maryland, and the German SOFIA Institute at the University of Stuttgart. The aircraft was maintained and operated by NASA’s Armstrong Flight Research Center Building 703, in Palmdale, California. SOFIA achieved full operational capability in 2014 and concluded its final science flight on Sept. 29, 2022.
SOFIA Helps Reveal a Destroyed Planetary System
by Anashe Bandari
Once a star evolves beyond the main sequence – the longest stage of stellar evolution, during which the radiation generated by nuclear fusion in a star’s core is balanced by gravitation – the fate of any planetary system it may have had is an enigma. Astronomers generally don’t know what happens to planets …
The spectral energy distribution of WD 2226-210 superposed on an image of the Helix Nebula from Hubble Space Telescope. The plot combines optical, infrared, and millimeter photometry, the Spitzer mid-infrared spectrum, and upper limits from WISE, Spitzer, SOFIA, Herschel, and ALMA. Models of the white dwarf photosphere (solid) and IR excess showing good fits to the data detections (circles) and upper limits (triangles). Credit: Helix Nebula: NOIRLab; SED: J. P. Marshall.