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SOFIA Mirror Cleaned to Prepare for Next Missions
The 2.5-meter mirror on NASA's Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy telescope was cleaned recently in preparation for its first full cycle of science observations. Telescope technicians at the Dryden Aircraft Operations Facility used water, a mild detergent and a small filtered blower to remove dust and other material that had adhered to the mirror's surface.
The mirror on NASA's Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy was cleaned in preparation for the first full cycle of science observations. Because contamination of the optics builds up over time, the telescope cavity of the heavily modified 747 is designed to serve as a clean environment. This enables technicians to clean the mirror without having to remove it from the aircraft. Thus, while the aircraft and its systems were upgraded at NASA's Dryden Aircraft Operations Facility in Palmdale, California, telescope technicians used water, a mild detergent and a small filtered blower to remove dust and other material that had adhered to the mirror's surface. This is in preparation for the next astronomy observation period, known as Cycle 1, which will begin in late 2012 and continue through December 2013.