Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

NASA’s Newest Airborne Observatory Completes First Science Mission

09.12.2010
On December 1, after five months of test flights, SOFIA—NASA’s newest and largest airborne astronomical observatory—completed a 10-hour flight that marked the project’s first mission devoted solely to gathering scientific data.

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 lkeller@ithaca.edu 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
Further information:
http://www.ithaca.edu

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht From rocks in Colorado, evidence of a 'chaotic solar system'
23.02.2017 | University of Wisconsin-Madison

nachricht Prediction: More gas-giants will be found orbiting Sun-like stars
22.02.2017 | Carnegie Institution for Science

All articles from Physics and Astronomy >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Breakthrough with a chain of gold atoms

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

Im Focus: DNA repair: a new letter in the cell alphabet

Results reveal how discoveries may be hidden in scientific “blind spots”

Cells need to repair damaged DNA in our genes to prevent the development of cancer and other diseases. Our cells therefore activate and send “repair-proteins”...

Im Focus: Dresdner scientists print tomorrow’s world

The Fraunhofer IWS Dresden and Technische Universität Dresden inaugurated their jointly operated Center for Additive Manufacturing Dresden (AMCD) with a festive ceremony on February 7, 2017. Scientists from various disciplines perform research on materials, additive manufacturing processes and innovative technologies, which build up components in a layer by layer process. This technology opens up new horizons for component design and combinations of functions. For example during fabrication, electrical conductors and sensors are already able to be additively manufactured into components. They provide information about stress conditions of a product during operation.

The 3D-printing technology, or additive manufacturing as it is often called, has long made the step out of scientific research laboratories into industrial...

Im Focus: Mimicking nature's cellular architectures via 3-D printing

Research offers new level of control over the structure of 3-D printed materials

Nature does amazing things with limited design materials. Grass, for example, can support its own weight, resist strong wind loads, and recover after being...

Im Focus: Three Magnetic States for Each Hole

Nanometer-scale magnetic perforated grids could create new possibilities for computing. Together with international colleagues, scientists from the Helmholtz Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) have shown how a cobalt grid can be reliably programmed at room temperature. In addition they discovered that for every hole ("antidot") three magnetic states can be configured. The results have been published in the journal "Scientific Reports".

Physicist Dr. Rantej Bali from the HZDR, together with scientists from Singapore and Australia, designed a special grid structure in a thin layer of cobalt in...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Booth and panel discussion – The Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings at the AAAS 2017 Annual Meeting

13.02.2017 | Event News

Complex Loading versus Hidden Reserves

10.02.2017 | Event News

International Conference on Crystal Growth in Freiburg

09.02.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Stingless bees have their nests protected by soldiers

24.02.2017 | Life Sciences

New risk factors for anxiety disorders

24.02.2017 | Life Sciences

MWC 2017: 5G Capital Berlin

24.02.2017 | Trade Fair News

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>