In response to COVID-19, SOFIA observations will be temporarily suspended effective Thursday, March 19, 2020 to ensure the safety of all staff and to comply with state and local county orders. While we are not conducting science observations at this time, the SOFIA Science Center remains active. Services such as data pipeline operations, the helpdesk, and user support are fully functioning. We will provide further updates about the status of the observatory as we know more.
Welcome to the SOFIA Science Center
Summer Virtual Events: Mark your Calendars!
August 18, 8-10 am PDT: Cycle 9 proposal preparation webinar
The 2020 Webinar will be held on August 18, 2020 at 8 am. This is an interactive event on the proposal tools available for Cycle 9. The objective is to help proposers in avoiding the typical pitfalls in observing time estimates and enhancing the Technical Feasibility section of their proposals. More information to come soon here.
Cycle 9 Calls for Proposals Released
SOFIA is pleased to invite proposals for Cycle 9 observations, with a deadline of September 4, 2020, 21:00 PDT (September 5, 2020, 4:00 UTC). Detailed information about the Cycle 9 calls can be found on our Cycle 9 page
Two Calls for Proposals are offered:
- A Call for regular programs, for which approximately 500 hours of observations will be offered and funding up to $4M is expected to be available for eligible proposers
- A Call for the SOFIA Legacy Program, which enables programs producing a rich archival dataset of significant scientific value to the astronomical community. Up to four legacy proposals will be accepted, with each allocated up to ~400 hours of observing time (~200 hours of observations per cycle). Funding is expected to be available at the level of $2M per year.
All six instruments -- EXES, FIFI-LS, FORCAST, FPI+, GREAT, and HAWC+ -- will be available during the Cycle (July 1, 2021 to September 31, 2022). SOFIA plans to offer three Southern deployments: two long deployments from July to mid-September 2021 and 2022, offering GREAT and HAWC+, and a short deployment in March 2022 offering FIFI-LS. A formal update to the Calls was released on July 24, 2020.
The HelpDesk is open to answer any question and inquiry from the community: email@example.com.
On August 3, 8-9 am Pacific Time, a webinar on Dual-Anonymous Review was held, with the objective to present the motivations and guidelines for the implementation of dual-anonymous reviews for SOFIA proposals. With presentations from Lou Strolger (STSCI) and B-G Andersson (SOFIA/USRA). More information and recording (soon) here.
A Proposal Tools Webinar will be held on August 18, 2020 at 8 am - 10 am Pacific Time. The objective is to help proposers in avoiding the typical pitfalls in observing time estimates and enhancing the Technical Feasibility section of their proposals. Information on connection details and the agenda are available here. Slides from the webinar and associated video tutorials from the 2019 Proposal Tool webinar are already available here
New Science Mission Operations Director
The Universities Space Research Association (USRA) appointed Dr. Margaret Meixner as the Director of SOFIA’s Science Mission Operations, effective April 13, 2020. As director, Meixner will provide scientific, technical and management guidance to SOFIA. She will work in partnership with the German SOFIA Institute (DSI), and in close collaboration with NASA, to maximize the scientific productivity and impact of the observatory.
Prior to joining USRA, Meixner held several leadership positions at the Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI), including Project Scientist for the James Webb Space Telescope and Instruments Division Deputy. Since 2016, she has been Community Co-Chair of the Origins Space Telescope Science and Technology Definition Team. She is also a Principal Research Scientist at Johns Hopkins University, and a member of NASA’s Astrophysics Advisory Committee.
A recipient of several awards and honors, Meixner was named Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) in 2015 and recognized for her leadership in infrared instrumentation for astronomy. She was also awarded the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy (AURA) Science Achievement Award in 2009, and the 1994 Annie Jump Cannon Special Commendation of Honor.
Meixner earned her B.S. degrees in electrical engineering and mathematics in 1987 from the University of Maryland, College Park, and received her master and doctorate degrees in astronomy from the University of California, Berkeley.
e-Newsletter Release: Cycle 8 Selection Results
The Cycle 8 Call for Proposals had an outstanding response. For the U.S. and German queue combined, the SOFIA Science Center received 238 observing proposals. Of these, 47 proposals were accepted as Legacy, Priority 1, and Priority 2, with an additional 44 proposals accepted as Priority 3 and Survey programs (see entire list here). Furthermore, five archival research proposals were received and one was accepted.
The selected Legacy program (PI Neufeld) will span two observing cycles; two additional Legacy proposals were selected as pilot programs for Cycle 8 (PIs Lopez Rodriguez and Stephens). The data will have no exclusive-use period, and hence the community will have immediate access to these high-impact datasets.
Legacy Program - HyGAL: Characterizing the Galactic Interstellar Medium with Hydrides
PI: David Neufeld (Johns Hopkins University) and Peter Schilke (University of Cologne)
Proposal ID 08_0038
Pilot Legacy Program - FIELDMAPS: Filaments Extremely Long and Dark: A Magnetic Polarization Survey
PI: Ian Stephens (Harvard & Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics)
Proposal ID 08_0186
Pilot Legacy Program - SOFIA Heralds a New Era of Measuring the Magnetic Fields of Galaxies
PI: Enrique Lopez-Rodriguez (SOFIA Science Center)
Proposal ID 08_0012
Team website: http://galmagfields.com/ (including data, tools and publications)
Data Released for SOFIA's First Completed Legacy Program
Get the data here.