NASA’s Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy, SOFIA, released its call for observing proposals from the U.S. and international astronomical communities. Approximately 500 hours of observing time are available for flights in 2019. Proposals that will use SOFIA data to enable Ph.D. theses will also be supported. The deadline for submitting the Phase I proposals is September 7, 2018, at 9 p.m. PDT.
Details including full proposal guidelines are available here.
The observatory’s position, above more than 99% of the water vapor in Earth’s atmosphere, and its suite of highly-specialized instruments, make it ideally suited for use in studying astronomical objects and phenomena at wavelengths inaccessible to other observatories.
The above image shows SOFIA data tracing gas in the Omega nebula, or M17, layered over an image of the nebula from the Spitzer Space Telescope. The energy from stars forming in the nebula changes its gas from atomic gas into ionized gas. This process also can destroy the materials needed to create future generations of stars. The SOFIA data give researchers an unobstructed view of these star formation processes, revealing ionized gas in the blue and green areas and atomic gas in the red.
SOFIA is a Boeing 747SP jetliner modified to carry a 106-inch diameter telescope. It is a joint project of NASA and the German Aerospace Center, DLR. NASA’s Ames Research Center in California’s Silicon Valley manages the SOFIA program, science and mission operations in cooperation with the Universities Space Research Association headquartered in Columbia, Maryland, and the German SOFIA Institute (DSI) at the University of Stuttgart. The aircraft is based at NASA’s Armstrong Flight Research Center Hangar 703, in Palmdale, California.