The deadline for proposal submission was July 18, 2014, at 23:59 PDT.

Download the SOFIA Cycle 3 Call for Proposals Document (version 2, June 20, 2014)

SOFIA Observer's Handbook for Cycle 3 (Version 3.2.2 or later should be used.)


For Cycle 3, the following instruments will be available: EXES, FIFI-LS, FLITECAM, FORCAST, GREAT, HIPO and the FLITECAM/HIPO combination. The instrument capabilities available for Cycle 3 observations are described in the Observer's Handbook. Information about the instrument teams, links to their webpages, and references are available on the instrument pages.

Reserved Observations Catalogs (ROCs)

Summary tables containing the reserved observations for each instrument are included as appendices in the Call for Proposals. Generally, these may not be proposed for in Cycle 3. The policies are described in Section 1.7.1 of the Call for Proposals document.

Duplication Checking

Duplications of existing observations, or of observations approved for Cycle 2 but not yet executed, need to be justified explicitly. Proposers should search the SOFIA Science Archive for completed observations and the AOR Search page for approved Cycle 2 observations to check for potential duplications. A few GREAT observations obtained during Early Science are not searchable by position in the SOFIA Science Archive, and proposers should check this table. The EXES observations obtained during the initial flights are also not yet searchable in the Science Archive, and are listed here.

Proposal Tools, Tutorials, and other Documents

SOFIA Proposal Tool (SPT)

All proposals are to be prepared using the SOFIA Proposal Tool (SPT), which is based on the Astronomer's Proposal Tool (APT) used for Hubble Space Telescope proposals.

Download SPT (v2_5_2, required for Cycle 3)

SPT can be downloaded without registering for a DCS account, and without being logged in to DCS. However, a DCS user account is necessary for submitting a SOFIA Phase I proposal. We recommend that new users register with DCS well before the submission deadline.

Exposure Time Estimation

The on-line calculator, SITE should be used for estimating the exposure times for FLITECAM and FORCAST imaging observations. On-line calculators for estimating the exposure time for Spectroscopic observations using grisms are available here for FLITECAM and here for FORCAST.

Exposure times for GREAT observations can be calculated using the GREAT on-line time estimator. The calculations are based on the "Guide to observation planning with GREAT", which also contains detailed information about the instrument. Note that information about the newly used GREAT H channel has not yet been incorporated into the exposure time estimator, or into the documentation. This information will become available shortly.

For EXES observations, exposure times should be obtained from the on-line calculator for EXES observations, maintained by the Instrument PI, M. Richter (UC Davis).

FIFI-LS exposure times should be estimated using the information in the Observer's Handbook. Note in particular the need for calculating and entering an alternate overhead as described in section 9.3.1 of the Observer's Handbook. Note also that for this cycle FIFI-LS will not be used for wavelength scan observations. We hope to offer this mode in the future after the absolute calibration of the instrument is better understood.

Exposure times for HIPO observations may be estimated using the information in the Observer's Handbook. Since HIPO and the FLITECAM/HIPO combination are considered special purpose instruments, detailed planning of observations should be carried out in consultation with the HIPO instrument PI, E. Dunham (Lowell Observatory).

Atmospheric Transmission

It is useful, and in the case of high resolution spectroscopy necessary, to know the atmospheric transmission as a function of wavelength. This may be done using the on-line tool ATRAN.

Target Visibility Tool

The target visibility for SOFIA can be determined using the Visibility Tool (VT), which is now available both as a Java Applet or for download. Note that the use of VT is not a requirement, since detailed flight planning is done by the SMO staff.

SOFIA Overview papers

"Early Science with SOFIA, the Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy" (Young et al. 2012).

"Status of the Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA)" (Gehrz et al. 2011).

Recent Preliminary Commissioning and Science Results

EXES observations of AFGL 2591 and Jupiter
FIFI-LS observations of Orion
FIFI-LS observations of NGC 6543
GREAT observations of NGC 7027

Cycle 3

Cycle 3: Phase II Information

Contact the SOFIA help-desk