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Video Highlight:
Exploring the Mid-Infrared Galactic Center with SOFIA Legacy Maps


Evolved Stars and their Circumstellar Environments

14-17 December 2021

When low- and intermediate-mass stars exhaust their nuclear fuel in their cores, they expand and enter the giant branch in the HR diagram. Eventually, some also ascend the asymptotic giant branch (AGB), potentially leading to planetary nebulae formation. AGB stars dominate the enrichment of several of the pre-biotic elements (e.g. C, N) and are therefore critical to our understanding of Galactic chemical evolution. The evolution of supergiants can provide information on open cluster evolution and star formation history. Generally speaking, evolved stellar objects also provide unique laboratories for the study of molecule and dust formation and matter-radiation interactions in highly irradiated environments.

This workshop will explore how theoretical and observational studies of evolved stellar objects can contribute to the understanding of a critical part of stellar evolution. Because giant stars tend to be cool with significant circumstellar, often dusty, envelopes, red [super] giants, AGB stars, planetary nebulae, and related objects are ideally suited for studies at infrared and [sub]mm wavelengths. We will encourage discussions on synergies between infrared observations and other techniques, and how laboratory work can contribute to the advancement of the field. More information here.


Our Galactic Ecosystem: Opportunities and Diagnostics in the Infrared and Beyond

February 28-March 04, 2022
In person at UCLA Lake Arrowhead Lodge, CA

The far infrared contains critical information about galactic ecosystem; The circle of life of stars and planets. How does interstellar material cycle between atomic and molecular clouds, and how does its chemical composition (and particularly the abundance of hydride molecules) reflect the environment in which it is found? What is the role of feedback (from young and old stars) on the interstellar medium (ISM)? What is the role of magnetic fields in the evolution of the ISM and star formation?

SOFIA provides a flexible, and our currently only, general access to the far infrared (30-300 µm) and its tracers of atomic and molecular lines and FIR polarization. This conference will allow in-person discussions of the results and future opportunities in studying galactic ecosystem using FIR methods, from SOFIA and other platforms. A goal will be to explore synergy with other observatories, including JWST and ALMA, and with theory.

Registration is now open! More information.


SOFIA Upgrading One-of-a-kind Camera

After making numerous discoveries of how magnetic fields shape our universe, an instrument flying on board the Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy is about to get even faster at gathering data. SOFIA is upgrading the High-resolution Airborne Wideband Camera-Plus, or HAWC+ with four new detectors that will allow it to study magnetic fields in distant galaxies four times faster than its current rate. Read the full story here.


Magnetic Fields and the Structure of the Filamentary Interstellar Medium Workshop

22- 25 June 2021

How do magnetic fields affect the evolution of the interstellar medium (ISM), and in particular star formation? Recent observations on many scales, both in photometry and polarization, indicate that the dense ISM is filamentary in nature, from sub-structures in giant molecular clouds to the mysterious snake-like infrared dark clouds stretching for tens to hundreds of parsecs along the Galactic plane. To what extent is this filamentary structure driven by magnetic forces and where in the transition from kilo-parsecs scales to molecular cloud scales does it arise? With the availability of the HAWC+ instrument on SOFIA and the SCUBA-2/POL-2 instrument on the JCMT/EAO we are now able to resolve some of the large-scale structures seen in e.g. the Planck maps of the Galaxy, and connect them to the high-resolution, narrow field view of ALMA, and address these questions.

This online workshop provided a forum to exchange insights and views on recent polarimetric observations, numerical simulations and advances in theoretical understanding, in an attempt to identify observable markers of the impact of magnetic fields. A day was dedicated to the question of turning polarimetric observations into magnetic field measurements, including the use and limitations of the Davis-Chandrasekhar-Fermi method, the role of dust grain alignment in different environments, and the combination of line-of-sight and plane-of-the-sky tracers of the magnetic field. More information here.


SOFIA Archival Research Program Proposals Selected

The SOFIA Science Center is pleased to announce the selection SOFIA Archival Research Program (SARP) proposals. SARP funds archival research projects primarily using SOFIA data to encourage the use of available SOFIA archival data in the Infrared Science Archive (IRSA). See the full list of the accepted proposals. Detailed information about the program can be found on the SARP page.


Instrument Roadmap

The Instrument Roadmap, a community-and science-driven plan for SOFIA's instrument suite, is now available to view. The Roadmap is focused on prioritized science cases and the technology needed to enable them. It is built on input from a large scientific community, including more than 300 participants across more than 100 institutions attending dedicated virtual workshops last summer. Read the full Instrument Roadmap report here.


SOFIA Begins First Series of Science Flights From Germany

SOFIA will conduct its first ever series of science observations from Germany in February and March, 2021. Many of the observations seek to answer fundamental questions in astronomy, including how stars can transform galaxies and what is the origin of cosmic rays in the Milky Way galaxy. Read the full announcement here.


Observing Proposals Selected for Cycle 9

The SOFIA Science Center is pleased to announce the selection of more than 120 observing programs for Cycle 9 (July 1, 2021 - September 30, 2022). Cycle 9 observations are planned to be distributed over 195 science flights, for a total of 820 observing hours, and with three deployments to the Southern Hemisphere. See the full list of the accepted proposals. Detailed information about the Cycle 9 calls can be found on the Cycle 9 page.


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