SOFIA community: Our Outreach team welcomes the opportunity to collaborate with you to promote your SOFIA science results. SOFIA science spotlights are featured in our e-newsletter, on this website, and possibly in a NASA press release. Please keep the Outreach team informed about the status of your publication, so we can assess opportunities. Contact the Oureach team before or when the paper is submitted (the earlier, the better). Communicating with the SOFIA Outreach team is considered internal communications and does not violate the embargo policies of scientific journals. Need more information? See the FAQs below. 

Q: Can any science result become a spotlight? 

A: A spotlight typically focuses on something new and interesting. Factors that can help make a result new and interesting include (but are not limited to): 

  • It overturns a previous belief or fills in a major gap in understanding 
  • The studied phenomenon has some superlative attribute (biggest, brightest, closest, farthest, most massive, most destructive, etc.) 

Q: Why should I work with the SOFIA Outreach team? Isn't publishing a paper enough? 

A: Having your result featured as a spotlight means more people, both inside and outside your community, will see it. The spotlight will feature a link to your paper, which can increase the number of reads. The spotlight may include original artwork by our graphic designer based on your data, which you can reuse in your presentations and proposals. If your result is featured on the website, the public impact will be even broader, raising your outreach profile.  

Q: When should I contact the SOFIA Outreach team? 

A: As soon as possible after you have decided to write about your result for publishing or presenting. Telling us about your result does not break any publication embargo rules and we are accustomed to working with embargoed information. Graphics and animations can take considerable time to prepare, so the more time you give us, the better. We can work initially from your draft paper to prepare the basics of the spotlight and the graphics. We will work with you to ensure that the spotlight is scientifically accurate.  

Q: How can I be sure the spotlight will accurately reflect my science? 

Our team will work directly with the result’s PI to make sure the final text and graphics (or video) is both interesting and accurate. 

Q: Are there any costs associated with working with the SOFIA Outreach team? 

A: None. Informing the science community and public about SOFIA science results is a part of the Outreach team's mission. 

Q: Where will my spotlight be seen? 

A: It depends on the result. At a minimum, the spotlight will be posted on the SOFIA Science Center website (, broadcast on social media, and featured in the SOFIA science e-newsletter. The spotlight may also appear in the twice-yearly printed newsletter, which is distributed at conferences. Results from spotlights that are particularly interesting to the public may be transformed into feature stories that appear on the website, which may be further promoted by NASA communications.