View the Cycle 7 Results here.

SOFIA has officially announced the selected proposals awarded time for its Cycle 7 observing period, scheduled to begin in April 2019. Cycle 7 will feature exciting science probing a diverse range of astronomical phenomena, from the solar system, to stars and the interstellar medium, to extragalactic sources. 

Cycle 7 also introduces SOFIA Legacy Programs: large programs that can span two observing cycles using about 100 hours of observing time. They are designed to enable community involvement in high-impact science by immediately releasing their fully reduced observational data for public use.

The following two SOFIA Legacy Programs have been selected for Cycle 7:

Constraining Recent Star Formation in the Galactic Center
PI: Matthew Hankins, Caltech
Proposal ID 07_0189

The Galactic Center presents the most extreme conditions for star formation, containing more than 80 percent of the Milky Way Galaxy’s dense molecular gas, high temperatures, significant turbulence, complex magnetic fields, and a strong gravitational potential well. Despite the large amount of dense gas, observations reveal that the rate of star formation is only 0.1 solar masses per year out of the 1.2 solar masses per year produced by the entire galaxy -- 10 times less than predictions by current theoretical models. 

This program aims at providing high-quality mosaics of bright infrared regions within the Galactic Center using the Faint Object infraRed CAmera for the SOFIA Telescope (FORCAST), which excels at producing images and spectroscopic data from infrared-bright areas. The FORCAST 25- and 37-micron bands will be used to create a searchable mid-infrared map of the Galactic Center and a point source catalog with an unprecedented spatial resolution -- six times higher than past observations. 

These infrared maps will greatly aid in the creation of a census of massive young stellar objects, thereby updating constraints for the star formation rate in the Galactic Center and improve star formation models for this region.

Radiative and Mechanical Feedback in Regions of Massive Star Formation 
Co-PIs: Alexander G.G.M. Tielens, University of Maryland; Nicola Schneider, University of Cologne, Germany
Proposal ID 07_0077

Massive stars are powerful and dynamic energy sources for the interstellar medium, capable of hindering star formation through molecular cloud dissolution or acting as a catalyst through cloud compression. Studying the radiative and mechanical feedback processes of massive stars on their environments therefore yields information about the evolution of the interstellar medium. In a sense, this SOFIA Legacy Program is the expansion of the study of the Orion Nebula published in Nature (see above) to other massive star-forming regions in our galaxy. This program will survey 11 regions including quintessential representatives of their type, including single O- or B-stars, small groups of O stars, rich stellar clusters, and mini starbursts, for a big-picture look at the interaction of massive stars with the interstellar medium throughout the universe.