SOFIA Highlights: Stars and supernovae

Artist’s impression of a pulsating variable star with circumstellar envelope and water masers

By David Neufeld & Joan Schmelz

Paper: Terahertz Water Masers. II. Further SOFIA/GREAT Detections Toward Circumstellar Outflows, and a Multitransition Analysis
Neufeld, David A., et al., 2021/01, ApJ, 907, 42.

Hubble Space Telescope image of Westerlund 1

By Emma Beasor

Paper: The Age of Westerlund 1 Revisited
Beasor, Emma R., et al., 2021/05, ApJ, 912, 16.

A portion of the spectrum of R Leonis superimposed on an artistic interpretation of the star

By José Pablo Fonfría and Joan Schmelz

Paper: Detection of infrared fluorescence of carbon dioxide in R Leonis with SOFIA/EXES
Fonfrí­a, J. P., et al., 2020/11, A&A, 643L, 15.

Illustration of planetary nebula NGC 7027 and helium hydride molecules

By Kimberly Ennico Smith

Paper: Astrophysical detection of the helium hydride ion HeH+
Güsten et al. Nature, 17 April 2019, doi: 10.1038/s41586-019-1090-x

Sagittarius A East Supernova Remnant

Using NASA's Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA), an international scientific team discovered that supernovae are capable of producing a substantial amount of the material from which planets like Earth can form.

These findings are published in the March 19 online issue of Science magazine.

"Our observations reveal a particular cloud produced by a supernova explosion 10,000 years ago contains enough dust to make 7,000 Earths," said Ryan Lau of Cornell University in Ithaca, New York.