ISSTT Proceedings

ISSTT Proceedings

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SOFIA: An Observatory for THz Science and Technology

Authors:
Eric E. Becklin, Sean C. Casey, Xander Tielens
Abstract:
The Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA) is the next generation of airborne astronomical observatories. Funded by the U.S. and German space agencies with an expected operational lifetime of 20 years, SOFIA is scheduled for science flights beginning in late-2009. The observatory consists of a 747-SP aircraft modified to accommodate a 2.5-meter infrared telescope within an open port cavity. Academic and government laboratories spanning both the U.S. and Germany are developing science instruments for SOFIA. With an evolving suite of state-of-the-art technologies, SOFIA will explore the emission of astronomical sources with an unprecedented level of angular resolution (Theta[arc-seconds] = 0.1 × wavelength µm) and spectral line sensitivity over a core frequency range of 1 - 10 THz (i.e. wavelengths of 30 - 300 µm). On April 26, 2007, the first test flight of the heavily modified SOFIA aircraft was achieved in Waco, Texas. The current status of SOFIA is available from the observatory web site at http://sofia.arc.nasa.gov and is updated frequently.
Categories:
Systems
Year:
2007
Session:
1
Full-text:
Download a PDF of this paper.
Page Number(s):
19-24