SOFIA Highlights: Extragalactic

Optical image of the galaxy NGC 891 showing dark extinction features extending out from the midplane

By William Reach and Joan Schmelz

Paper: Extraplanar Gas in Edge-on Galaxies Traced by SOFIA Observations of [C II]
Reach, William T., et al., 2020/10, ApJ, 902, 28.

Composite image of Centaurus A

By Enrique Lopez Rodrigues & Joan Schmelz

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

Illustration of active black hole at center of galaxy with blue stars surrounded by ring of dust

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

Magnetic fields shown as streamlines over an image of the galaxy NGC 1068 or M77

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.

C+ line luminosity as a function of FIR luminosity

By Joan Schmelz

How do astronomers understand galaxies that are so far away that they may appear as a simple point source, even when observed with the most powerful telescopes? One proven technique is to study local analogues, galaxies that might have similar properties but are close enough to resolve their structures. A study like this was underway when researchers discovered something extraordinary – their observation was 10 times stronger than predicted.

Cigar Galaxy with magnetic field shown as streamlines over red outflow, yellow dust and stars

By Terry Jones, Arielle Moullet, Kassandra Bell, and Joan Schmelz

Paper: SOFIA Far Infrared Imaging Polarimetry of M82 and NGC 253: Exploring the Super–Galactic Wind
Jones, Terry Jay, et al., 2019, ApJL, 870, L9.

Illustration of Cygnus A galaxy showing dusty surroundings, jets, and magnetic fields trapping dust

By Enrique Lopez-Rodriguez, Kassandra Bell, and Joan Schmelz (USRA)

Paper: The Highly Polarized Dusty Emission Core of Cygnus A
Lopez-Rodriguez, Enrique, et al., 2018, ApJL, 861, L23.

Illustration of thick ring of dust near the supermassive black hole of an active galactic nuclei

Researchers at the University of Texas San Antonio using observations from NASA’s Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy, SOFIA, found that the dust surrounding active, ravenous black holes are much more compact than previously thought.