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Cycle 8 Calls for Proposals Released

SOFIA Cycle 8 Call for Proposals timeline

Visit the Cycle 8 webpage for more information ​here.

Read the Call for Proposals (for regular proposals) here.
Read the Call for Proposals for Legacy (SLP) and Archival (SARP) programs here.
Read the Observer's Handbook for Cycle 8 here.

On May 31, 2019, the SOFIA program released two Calls for Proposals (CfPs) with three types of proposal opportunities: one Call for regular proposals, and a separate Call for both the SOFIA Legacy Program (SLP) and the new SOFIA Archival Research Program (SARP). Funding is available for Guest Observers with affiliations in the U.S. (see the relevant CfP for details). There will be a formal update to the Call for Proposals on July 20, 2019 and the deadline for submitting proposals is September 6, 2019, 21:00 PDT (September 7, 2019, 4:00 UTC).

SOFIA Science on Tour (see below) will conclude with a proposal tool webinar on Friday, August 9, 2019. Participants will be led through guided examples and have the chance to ask questions live while learning how to use SOFIA’s tools to submit proposals. More information coming soon.

SOFIA Science on Tour

SOFIA Science on Tour

View the schedule here.

From May to August 2019, members of the SOFIA science team will be deployed across the U.S. to present recent SOFIA science and provide help to current users and proposers through seminars and workshops, depending on the needs of the local community. At no cost to participants or the host institution, SOFIA Science on Tour enables research institutes and university departments to offer staff and students free resources to learn about new research discoveries and opportunities through a diverse range of presentations, tutorials, and targeted technical support.

The Tour will conclude with a proposal tool webinar on Friday, August 9, 2019 to aid users with the proposal submission process for Cycle 8. Participants will be led through guided examples and have the chance to ask questions live while learning how to use SOFIA’s tools to submit proposals. More information coming soon.

Contact the Help Desk for more information on how to get SOFIA Science on Tour to come to your institution with an event specifically tailored to the needs of your staff and students.

Cycle 7 Selection Results Released

Overview of the galactic center survey targeted by the FORCAST legacy program

Overview of the galactic center survey targeted by the FORCAST legacy program led by M. Hankins (Caltech). The survey regions (in yellow) are plotted over a false-color map of the Galactic Center created with MSX 21 μm (red), Spitzer/MIPS 24 μm (green), and Spitzer/IRAC 8 μm (blue) data. Notable galactic center sources are marked in white.

View the Cycle 7 Selection Results here.

SOFIA has officially announced the selected proposals awarded time for its Cycle 7 observing period, scheduled to begin in April 2019. Cycle 7 will feature exciting science probing a diverse range of astronomical phenomena, from the solar system, to stars and the interstellar medium, to extragalactic sources. 

Cycle 7 also introduces SOFIA Legacy Programs: large programs that can span two observing cycles using about 100 hours of observing time. They are designed to enable community involvement in high-impact science by immediately releasing their fully reduced observational data for public use.

The following two SOFIA Legacy Programs have been selected for Cycle 7:

Constraining Recent Star Formation in the Galactic Center
PI: Matthew Hankins, Caltech
Proposal ID 07_0189

Radiative and Mechanical Feedback in Regions of Massive Star Formation 
Co-PIs: Alexander G.G.M. Tielens, University of Maryland; Nicola Schneider, University of Cologne, Germany
Proposal ID 07_0077

Read more about the selected Legacy proposals here.

Astrophysical Journal Letters - Special Issue featuring SOFIA!

ApJL Cover

Download the Special Issue here.

In January 2019, the Astrophysical Journal Letters (ApJL) released a Special Issue providing analysis of several SOFIA studies that have yielded exciting results, including among others a new insight on the age of the galactic center HII region Srg B1, detailed imaging of the nearby galaxy M 51, and an upper limit to the total amount of water emitted from the recently discovered water plumes on Jupter’s moon Europa. The Special Issue can be downloaed here. Topics include the following:

  • The Highly Polarized Dusty Emission Core of Cygnus A
  • High Spectral Resolution Observations toward Orion BN at 6 μm: No Evidence for Hot Water
  • The Close AGN Reference Survey (CARS): SOFIA Detects Spatially Resolved [C ii] Emission in the Luminous AGN HE 0433-1028
  • Gemini, SOFIA, and ATCA Reveal Very Young, Massive Protostars in the Collapsing Molecular Cloud BYF 73
  • SOFIA FIFI-LS Observations of Sgr B1: Ionization Structure and Sources of Excitation
  • Infrared Detection of Abundant CS in the Hot Core AFGL 2591 at High Spectral Resolution with SOFIA/EXES
  • High-resolution SOFIA/EXES Spectroscopy of SO2 Gas in the Massive Young Stellar Object MonR2 IRS3: Implications for the Sulfur Budget
  • A SOFIA Survey of [C ii] in the Galaxy M51. I. [C ii] as a Tracer of Star Formation
  • SOFIA Far-infrared Imaging Polarimetry of M82 and NGC 253: Exploring the Supergalactic Wind
  • A Search for Water Vapor Plumes on Europa using SOFIA

Journal of Astronomical Instrumentation Special Issue featuring SOFIA!

Journal of Astronomical Instrumentation cover

Download the Special Issue here.

The Journal of Astronomical Instrumentation (JAI) Special Issue featuring SOFIA was released in December 2018. The Special Issue is a compilation of in-depth reports and analysis on the telescope and its instrument suite that are extremely useful for those wanting to learn about the observatory. The Special Issue can be downloaded here. Topics include the following:

  • Overall technical advancements since the observatory reached full operational capacity, and a detailed report on the of the SOFIA instruments.
  • An Overview of the Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy Since Full Operation Capability
  • SOFIA at Full Operation Capability: Technical Performance
  • The SOFIA Telescope in Full Operation
  • Increasing the SOFIA Secondary Mirror Mechanism’s Fast Steering Capability by Identification of a Structural Resonance and Its Subsequent Elimination Through Mass Re-Distribution
  • Image Size and Control System Developments of the Airborne Telescope SOFIA
  • A Review of Science Ground Operations for the Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA)
  • SOFIA Flight Planning and Execution
  • The SOFIA Focal Plane Imager: A Highly Sensitive and Fast Photometer for the Wavelength Range 0.4 to 1 Micron
  • EXES: The Echelon-cross-echelle Spectrograph for SOFIA
  • FIFI-LS: The Field-Imaging Far-Infrared Line Spectrometer on SOFIA
  • Spectral and Spatial Characterization and Calibration of FIFI-LS — The Field Imaging Spectrometer on SOFIA
  • HAWC++, the Far-Infrared Camera and Polarimeter for SOFIA
  • The upGREAT Dual Frequency Heterodyne Arrays for SOFIA
  • SOFIA-HIRMES: Looking Forward to the HIgh-Resolution Mid-infrarEd Spectrometer

Cookbook Recipes

SOFIA cookbook logo

View the Cookbook Recipes here.

The Cookbooks Recipes contain guided examples of common data analysis objectives using SOFIA processed data. They are written for a graduate student audience and are intended to be used with the Data Handbooks. The Cookbook Recipes and Data Handbooks are located on the Data Resources webpage.

SOFIA currently has the following Cookbook Recipes available:

FORCAST Photometry
Performing aperture photometry using flux calibrated FORCAST images accessed through Flexible Image Transport System (FITS) files

FORCAST Grism Spectra Series:
I.  Basic Inspection and Assessment
Python tutorial on plotting and analyzing data
II.  Custom Spectral Extraction
Tutorial utilizing Level 2 two-dimensional images produced by the FORCAST pipeline
III.  Basic Line Analysis

HAWC+ Data Recipe with 30 Doradus Publicly Available SDDT Data
Guides users through Python analysis techniques using the 30 Doradus dataset, teaching readers how to probe HAWC+ data cubes and learn basic analysis techniques—such as plotting Stokes parameters, error maps, and polarization vectors—to jump-start their own research.

FIFI-LS: Basic Cube Analysis using SOSPEX
Basic spectroscopic cube analysis using the SOFIA python tool SPecturm Explorer (SOSPEX), which displays FIFI-LS and GREAT spectral cubes and allows the user to perform a number of basic analysis routines on them. The cube is shown as a 2D image (spatial image obtained as average along the wavelength dimension) and as a spectrum (sum of spatial pixels of the original cube).

GREAT: How to View GREAT Spectra Using CLASS Utility
Finding a sample data set through modifying the baseline fit, averaging, and saving the result in a Flexible Image Transport System (FITS) file using the Continuum and Line Analysis Single-dish Software (CLASS) utility, the standard for single-dish heterodyne spectroscopy data reduction.

Cycle 7 Call for Proposals

For all Cycle 7 major updates, visit the Cycle 7 webpage.

Cycle 7 timeline

For all Cycle 7 major updates, visit the Cycle 7 webpage.

Cycle 7 will feature two Calls for Proposals issued by the Universities Space Research Association (USRA) to solicit observing proposals from the U.S. and international astronomical communities. Proposals for both calls were due Septemeber 7, 2018 and observations are expected to begin April 27, 2019. Approximately 400 hours of observing time are available for regular observing proposals, with $4M in funding available to support guest observers based in the US. Thesis enabling proposals intended to enable and support PhD theses based on SOFIA data will be supported, with highly ranked proposals in this category eligible for up to two years of graduate student support.

In addition to the regular Call for Proposals, Cycle 7 will host a second call to premiere the SOFIA Legacy Program to enable programs spanning two cycles. Each cycle will utilize approximately 50 hours of the 100 total available hours for the Legacy Program for Cycle 7. $1M will be available to support Legacy Programs.

There is an additional call for those affiliated with German institutions administered by the German SOFIA Institute (Deutsches SOFIA Institut; DSI) on behalf of the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft und Raumfahrt; DLR) that will offer an additional approximately 70 hours of observing time.

The Proposal Resources page contains all necessary documentation and useful tools for submitting proposals, including the following documentation for Cycle 7:

Call for Proposals
Legacy Call for Proposals
SOFIA Legacy Budget Template
Observer's Handbook
USPOT Manual

Science Highlight: HIRMES: SOFIA's Latest High-Resolution Mid-Infrared Spectrometer

HIRMES Flyer [pdf]
Examples of HIRMES potential scientific observations and brief summary of specifications

HIRMES Instrument Paper [pdf]
In-depth summary of HIRMES specifications and preliminary assessment of performance

HIRMES Presentation [pdf]
Additional preliminary information for HIRMES from the instrument principal investigator.

Contact the SOFIA Help-Desk

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