3.1 Observing with SOFIA during Cycle 4

The duration of each SOFIA Cycle 4 flight is expected to be between 9 ‒ 10 hours, 8 ‒ 9 hours of which will be available for observing at altitudes of 37,000 ‒ 45,000 feet. FPI+ is always available. Among the other instruments, only one will be installed on the telescope at any time, with the exception of the FLIPO configuration (FLITECAM + HIPO). The SMO director will determine the total number of flights dedicated to each instrument, after consideration of the number of TAC-approved proposals for each.

Proposals should request observing time in units of hours. Once a proposal has been approved, the first stage is complete and the GI is then expected to carry out the detailed planning of their observations in consultation with a support scientist or, for PI instruments, with the instrument team. This second stage of observation planning is known as Phase II. The GIs will be informed who their SMO support scientists are and how to contact them.

On each SOFIA Cycle 4 flight, there will be one or more seats available for GIs or designated CoIs of the proposals scheduled for that flight. Since there are a limited number of seats available on each flight, the choice of GIs given the opportunity to fly on SOFIA will be made by the SMO director according to a number of considerations, including the duration of science observations for each program on the flight and the proposal rank.

The observations will be carried out either by members of the instrument team along with SOFIA personnel, or solely by SOFIA personnel. The GIs on board SOFIA will participate in the observing, and monitor the data as it is received, but will have limited decision making abilities. For example, the GI will be allowed to make real-time changes to exposure times for different filters or channels. However, changing targets or any modifications that alter the durations of flight-legs will not be allowed.

Those GIs or CoIs chosen to fly aboard SOFIA will be required to complete a flight participation form, a medical release form, and documentation related to badging. In addition, they will be required to participate in an Egress Training course prior to being allowed on board the aircraft. Full details will be provided to GIs of approved proposals during the Phase II process.

Download the PDF Version

Share This Page