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31 July 2014 SOFIA science instruments: commissioning, upgrades and future opportunities
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The Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA) is the world’s largest airborne observatory, featuring a 2.5 meter effective aperture telescope housed in the aft section of a Boeing 747SP aircraft. SOFIA’s current instrument suite includes: FORCAST (Faint Object InfraRed CAmera for the SOFIA Telescope), a 5-40 μm dual band imager/grism spectrometer developed at Cornell University; HIPO (High-speed Imaging Photometer for Occultations), a 0.3-1.1μm imager built by Lowell Observatory; GREAT (German Receiver for Astronomy at Terahertz Frequencies), a multichannel heterodyne spectrometer from 60-240 μm, developed by a consortium led by the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy; FLITECAM (First Light Infrared Test Experiment CAMera), a 1-5 μm wide-field imager/grism spectrometer developed at UCLA; FIFI-LS (Far-Infrared Field-Imaging Line Spectrometer), a 42-200 μm IFU grating spectrograph completed by University Stuttgart; and EXES (Echelon-Cross-Echelle Spectrograph), a 5-28 μm highresolution spectrometer designed at the University of Texas and being completed by UC Davis and NASA Ames Research Center. HAWC+ (High-resolution Airborne Wideband Camera) is a 50-240 μm imager that was originally developed at the University of Chicago as a first-generation instrument (HAWC), and is being upgraded at JPL to add polarimetry and new detectors developed at Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC). SOFIA will continually update its instrument suite with new instrumentation, technology demonstration experiments and upgrades to the existing instrument suite. This paper details the current instrument capabilities and status, as well as the plans for future instrumentation.
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