Science Results Archive

By Enrique Lopez Rodrigues & Joan Schmelz

Paper: The Magnetic Field Across the Molecular Warped Disk of Centaurus A
Lopez-Rodriguez, E., Nat Astron (2021).

The Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy, a joint project of NASA and the German Aerospace Center, DLR, has been used extensively to look many objects in the universe, from black holes to galaxies and even the Moon.

A decade ago, German researcher Heinz Hübers led a team to improve one of SOFIA’s infrared instruments – the German Receiver for Astronomy at Terahertz Frequencies, or GREAT – with a new laser technology. He realized that the upgrade would not only help to study the distant cosmos, it could also be used much closer to home.

By Charles “Chick” Woodward, Kassandra Bell, and Joan Schmelz

Paper: The Coma Dust of Comet C/2013 US10 (Catalina): A Window into Carbon in the Solar System
Woodward, Charles E., et al., 2021/02, PSJ, , 2.

By Arshia Jacob and Joan Schmelz

Paper: First detection of 13CH in the interstellar medium
Jacob, Arshia M., et al., 2020/08, A&A, 640A, A125.

By Cornelia Pabst, Javier Goicoechea, and Joan Schmelz

Paper: Expanding bubbles in Orion A: [C II] observations of M 42, M 43, and NGC 1977
Pabst, C. H. M., et al., 2020/07, A&A, 639A, A2.

What’s fueling the massive ejection of gas and dust out of the Cigar galaxy, otherwise known as Messier 82?

We know that thousands of stars bursting into existence are driving a powerful super-wind that’s blowing matter into intergalactic space. New research shows that magnetic fields are also contributing to the expulsion of material from Messier 82, a well-known example of a starburst galaxy with a distinctive, elongated shape.

Not all appears as it would seem in the Whirlpool galaxy. One of the best-studied spiral galaxies and a delight to amateur astronomers, Messier 51, as it’s officially named, is influenced by powerful, invisible forces.

By Kassandra Bell, Arielle Moullet, and Joan Schmelz

Paper: Haze in Pluto’s atmosphere: Results from SOFIA and Ground-based Observations of the 2015 June 29 Pluto Occultation
 M. J. Person et al., 2020, Icarus, in press.

By Kevin Cooke, Allison Kirkpatrick, and Joan Schmelz

Paper: Dying of the Light: An X-Ray Fading Cold Quasar at z ~ 0.405
Cooke, K. C. et al., 2020 ApJ 903 106

By Cristian Guevara and Joan Schmelz

Paper: [C II] 158 µm self-absorption and optical depth effects
Guevara, C., et al., 2020/04, A&A, 636A, A16.

Photodissociation Regions (PDRs) are zones of the interstellar medium in which Far-UV photons dominate the thermal balance, chemistry, structure, as well as the distribution of the gas and dust. The incident FUV field photodissociates molecules, photoionizes atoms and molecules, and heats the gas and dust.

By Casey Honniball, Paul Lucey, and Joan Schmelz

Paper: Molecular water detected on the sunlit Moon by SOFIA
C.I. Honniball, et al., Nature Astronomy 2020.

Researchers using SOFIA have made the first-ever detection of the water molecule (H2O) on the sunlit surface of the Moon. This discovery refines our understanding of the behavior of water and how volatile elements and compounds interact with airless bodies throughout the Solar System and beyond.

By Elena Redaelli and Joan Schmelz

Paper: Magnetic Properties of the Protostellar Core IRAS 15398-3359
E. Redaelli, et al., 2019 A&A, 631, A154.

By Thushara Pillai and Joan Schmelz

Paper: Magnetized filamentary gas flows feeding the young embedded cluster in Serpens South
Pillai, T.G., et al., 2020, Nat Astron (2020).

By Kathleen Kraemer, Boston College and Gregory Sloan, Cornell University

Paper: Stellar Pulsation and the Production of Dust and Molecules in Galactic Carbon Stars
K. E. Kraemer, et al., 2019, ApJ, 887, 1.

By Yoko Okada, University of Cologne

Paper: First Detection of [13C II] in the Large Magellanic Cloud
Y. Okada, et al., 2019, A&A, 631L, 12O.

By Joan Schmelz (USRA)

By Matthew Hankins
Paper: SOFIA/FORCAST Galactic Center Legacy Survey: Overview
Hankins et al., 2020, ApJ.

SOFIA’s first completed legacy program provides researchers with a vastly improved view of warm dust in the center of the Galaxy, revealing signatures of star formation in exquisite detail. 

By Wanggi Lim and Joan Schmelz
Paper: Surveying the Giant H ii Regions of the Milky Way with SOFIA. II. M17
Lim, et al., 2020, ApJ, 888, 98.

By Enrique Lopez-Rodriguez and Joan Schmelz
Paper: SOFIA/HAWC+ Traces the Magnetic Felds in NGC 1068
Lopez-Rodriguez  et al., 2020, ApJ, 888, 66.

SOFIA astronomers have measured, for the first time, the magnetic field tracing the star forming regions along the spiral arms of NGC 1068, the nearest grand-design spiral with an active galactic nuclei and a large-scale almost face-on disk.