A 17-ton telescope mounted in the fuselage of a modified 747 jumbo jet, SOFIA (Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy) will now embark on a 20-year investigation of the infrared spectrum of the universe, an area never before explored by either satellite- or ground-based observatories.
Luke Keller, an associate professor of physics at Ithaca College, was onboard for the historic mission and is available to talk about the new insights SOFIA will provide on how stars and planets are born, how organic substances form in interstellar space, and how supermassive black holes feed and grow. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (607) 342-0764.
“This flight and the observations we have completed are very exciting because they demonstrate that we have a working observatory, not just a flying telescope,” Keller said. “The images we captured are beautiful and rich in details that we already know are unique and will advance our understanding of the process of star formation. We’re working hard on data analysis and we look forward to sharing those images and our scientific findings over the next few weeks and months.”
The December 1 mission was the first of three flights that will constitute phase one of SOFIA’s early science program. Phase one will employ FORCAST (Faint Object InfraRed Camera), the infrared camera system installed on the telescope. Built at Cornell University’s Center for Radiophysics and Space Research under the direction of Cornell professor Terry Herter, FORCAST is the first of eight instruments that will be installed on the telescope to capture infrared images of celestial phenomenon and measure physical characteristics such as their chemical compositions, temperatures and motion. A co-investigator on Herter’s Cornell team of scientists and engineers, Keller was a key contributor in designing FORCAST’s optics and leading the team that analyzes the data it produces.
“These initial science flights mark a significant milestone in SOFIA’s development and ability to conduct peer-reviewed science observations,” said NASA Astrophysics Division Director Jon Morse. “We anticipate a number of important discoveries from this unique observatory, as well as extended investigations of discoveries by other space telescopes.”
SOFIA is an international collaboration between NASA and the German Aerospace Center, Deutsches Zentrum für Luft und Raumfahrt (DLR). The premiere science flight took off from an Air Force runway in Palmdale, California.
Keith Davis | Newswise Science News
Physicists discover that lithium oxide on tokamak walls can improve plasma performance
22.05.2017 | DOE/Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory
Experts explain origins of topographic relief on Earth, Mars and Titan
22.05.2017 | City College of New York
Two-dimensional magnetic structures are regarded as a promising material for new types of data storage, since the magnetic properties of individual molecular building blocks can be investigated and modified. For the first time, researchers have now produced a wafer-thin ferrimagnet, in which molecules with different magnetic centers arrange themselves on a gold surface to form a checkerboard pattern. Scientists at the Swiss Nanoscience Institute at the University of Basel and the Paul Scherrer Institute published their findings in the journal Nature Communications.
Ferrimagnets are composed of two centers which are magnetized at different strengths and point in opposing directions. Two-dimensional, quasi-flat ferrimagnets...
An Australian-Chinese research team has created the world's thinnest hologram, paving the way towards the integration of 3D holography into everyday...
In the race to produce a quantum computer, a number of projects are seeking a way to create quantum bits -- or qubits -- that are stable, meaning they are not much affected by changes in their environment. This normally needs highly nonlinear non-dissipative elements capable of functioning at very low temperatures.
In pursuit of this goal, researchers at EPFL's Laboratory of Photonics and Quantum Measurements LPQM (STI/SB), have investigated a nonlinear graphene-based...
Dental plaque and the viscous brown slime in drainpipes are two familiar examples of bacterial biofilms. Removing such bacterial depositions from surfaces is...
For the first time, scientists have succeeded in studying the strength of hydrogen bonds in a single molecule using an atomic force microscope. Researchers from the University of Basel’s Swiss Nanoscience Institute network have reported the results in the journal Science Advances.
Hydrogen is the most common element in the universe and is an integral part of almost all organic compounds. Molecules and sections of macromolecules are...
22.05.2017 | Event News
17.05.2017 | Event News
16.05.2017 | Event News
22.05.2017 | Materials Sciences
22.05.2017 | Life Sciences
22.05.2017 | Physics and Astronomy