SOFIA Cycle 4 Science Program Selections AnnouncedThe SOFIA Science Center announces selection of astrophysics research programs for science flights during the observatory’s fourth annual cycle of operations. These investigations will be conducted from February 2016 through January 2017, including a deployment to the Southern Hemisphere planned for mid-2016. (click image for more information)
SOFIA Flies Star Trek Icon and Educators on Science MissionOn Sept. 15, five educators participating in NASA's Airborne Astronomy Ambassadors program, boarded the Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA), and boldly went where no ambassadors have gone before -- into the stratosphere with Nichelle Nichols, actress, cultural icon, and science advocate. (click image for more information)
Water Around the Protostar AFGL 2591Spectrum of protostar AFGL 2591 from 6.085 to 6.130 microns compared with a spectrum of the standard star Vega (alpha Lyrae). This specific wavelength range is not observable from any ground-based observatory. (click image for more information)
SOFIA in the Right Place at the Right Time for Pluto ObservationsIn a special celestial event visible only from the Southern Hemisphere, Pluto passed directly between a distant star and the Earth on the morning of June 30, New Zealand time (June 29 in the U.S.). (click image for more information)
SOFIA Observes an Extrasolar PlanetSOFIA/HIPO light curve of extrasolar 'hot Jupiter' planet HD 189733b transiting in front of its parent star. The blue curve in the upper panel is a model fit; the lower panel shows residuals relative to the model. (Angerhausen et al. 2015) (click image for more information)
Using SOFIA and the FORCAST camera, an international scientific team discovered that supernovae are capable of producing a substantial amount of the material from which planets like Earth can form. More information.
GREAT spectral map of planetary nebula NGC 7027 in [O I] emission at 63.2 microns (4.74 THz)
Map of planetary nebula NGC 7027 in the neutral oxygen emission line at 63 microns constructed from spatial scans made by the GREAT spectrometer’s H-channel receiver. The effective angular resolution is indicated by the gray circle at lower left. More information.
FIFI-LS detection of [O III] emission from the planetary nebula NGC 6543
(Left) First FIFI-LS spectral map of planetary nebula NGC 6543 at 51.815 microns, Each of the 25 pixels is 6 x 6 arc seconds in size, corresponding to about 1/10 of a light year at NGC 6543’s distance of 3000 light years. (Copyright: The FIFI-LS Team) (Right) The FIFI-LS field of view is shown superimposed on a image of NGC 6543 taken by the Nordic Optical Telescope (La Palma, Spain) in filters [N II] λ6584 (= red) and [O III] λ5007 Å (= blue and green). (Copyright: R.L.M. Corradi, Isaac Newton Group, and D. Goncalves, Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias.) More information.
EXES spectral maps of H2 emission on Jupiter at 17.0 and 28.3 microns
On its first commissioning flight, EXES observed emissions from Jupiter's atmosphere in two molecular hydrogen lines. These observations will be used in a research project led by Dr. Thomas Greathouse of the Southwest Research Institute, San Antonio, Texas, to understand how gas rises from deep in Jupiter's interior and mixes into the planet's upper atmosphere. More information.
SOFIA near-IR image of Supernova 2014J
Two images of the central portions of galaxy M82 that include the position of Supernova 2014J (north is at the top, east is to the left in these images). (left) Near-infrared image from the 2-Micron All-Sky Survey (2MASS), before the supernova explosion. (right) Image of M82 including the supernova at near-infrared wavelengths J, H, and K (1.2, 1.65, and 2.2 microns), made Feb. 20 by the FLITECAM instrument on SOFIA. More information.
Several times per year, NASA Astrophysics Division Director Paul Hertz issues a message summarizing the status of NASA's astrophysics missions and programs. Read the latest update here. [Updated September 2015]