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A brief overview of the SOFIA Program, a flying telescope being put into service by NASA.

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  1. 1. SOFIAStratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy<br />By<br />Chris Munson<br />© Chris Munson 2009<br />
  2. 2. Agenda<br />What is SOFIA?<br />SOFIA Platform<br />SOFIA Team<br />History of SOFIA<br />Science Expectations<br />Questions<br />© Chris Munson 2009<br />
  3. 3. What is SOFIA?<br />SOFIA (Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy)<br />Flying observatory built into a Boeing 747SP<br />Allows astronomical observations from anywhere in the world<br />Flies above most of the atmosphere, to get a clearer picture of space<br />© Chris Munson 2009<br />
  4. 4. SOFIA Platform<br />© Chris Munson 2009<br />
  5. 5. SOFIA Telescope<br />SOFIA uses a 2.5-meter reflector telescope.<br />The optical system uses a Cassegrain reflector design with a parabolic primary mirror and a remotely configurable hyperbolic secondary.<br />The telescope looks out of a large door in the side of the fuselage near the airplane&apos;s tail, and will initially carry nine instruments for infrared astronomy and high-speed optical astronomy<br />© Chris Munson 2009<br />
  6. 6. SOFIA Telescope<br />© Chris Munson 2009<br />
  7. 7. SOFIA Team<br />NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration)<br />Provides 80% of the funding for the program<br />DLR (German Aerospace Center)<br />Provides 20% of the funding and the telescope<br />USRA (Universities Space Research Association)<br />Contracted by NASA to run the SOFIA program<br />Program management and science office is based at NASA Ames<br />Aircraft is staged in Palmdale, California<br />© Chris Munson 2009<br />
  8. 8. History of SOFIA<br />Replacement for the Kuiper Observatory<br />Operated out of NASA Ames from 1974-1995<br />SOFIA Project was first proposed in 1984<br />Costs were split between NASA and DLR (Germany) since neither country could afford the entire program<br />Plane was modified in Waco, Texas by L-3Com<br />Plane was moved to Palmdale, California in 2007, with a brief stop at Moffett<br />© Chris Munson 2009<br />
  9. 9. Science Expectations<br />The primary science objectives of SOFIA are to study:<br />Composition of planetary atmospheres and surfaces<br />Investigate the structure, evolution and composition of comets<br />Determine the physics and chemistry of the interstellar medium<br />Explore the formation of stars and other stellar objects.<br />© Chris Munson 2009<br />
  10. 10. Questions?<br />© Chris Munson 2009<br />