21 August 2009 Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA)
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Abstract
The joint U.S. and German SOFIA project to develop and operate a 2.5-meter infrared airborne telescope in a Boeing 747-SP is in its final stages of development. Flying in the stratosphere, SOFIA allows observations throughout the infrared and submillimeter region, with an average transmission of greater than 80%. SOFIA's first generation instrument complement includes high-speed photometers, broadband imagers, moderate resolution spectrographs capable of resolving broad features due to dust and large molecules, and high resolution spectrometers suitable for kinematic studies of molecular and atomic gas lines at km/s resolution. These instruments will enable SOFIA to make unique contributions to a broad array of science topics. First science flights will begin in 2010, and the observatory is expected to operate for more than 20 years. The sensitivity, characteristics, science instrument complement, future instrument opportunities and examples of first light science will be discussed.
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E. E. Becklin, R. D. Gehrz, "Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA)", Proc. SPIE 7453, Infrared Spaceborne Remote Sensing and Instrumentation XVII, 745302 (21 August 2009); doi: 10.1117/12.828619; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.828619
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