Past Announcements in 2019

Proposals Due Friday


Proposals due Friday!

Note: Proposers directly affected by Hurricane Dorian may request a one-week extension of the deadline. Contact the Science Mission Operations director Dr. Harold Yorke with a brief, specific, explanation to request the extension.

SOFIA Cycle 8 Call for Proposals timeline

Visit the Cycle 8 webpage for more information ​here.

Read the Call for Proposals (for regular proposals) here.
Read the Call for Proposals for Legacy (SLP) and Archival (SARP) programs here.
Read the Observer's Handbook for Cycle 8 here.

On May 31, 2019, the SOFIA program released two Calls for Proposals (CfPs) with three types of proposal opportunities: one Call for regular proposals, and a separate Call for both the SOFIA Legacy Program (SLP) and the new SOFIA Archival Research Program (SARP). Funding is available for Guest Observers with affiliations in the U.S. (see the relevant CfP for details). The deadline for submitting proposals is September 6, 2019, 21:00 PDT (September 7, 2019, 4:00 UTC).

Resources for submitting your proposals, including video tutorials, may be found on the Proposal Tools Webinar webpage. Contact the Help-Desk as soon as possible for additional assistance with submitting your proposal.

Video Tutorials Released


Increase the Chance of Your Proposal's Acceptance!

proposal tools webinar banner

The webinar has ended, but the video tutorials are now available for download!

Submitting a proposal for Cycle 8? Avoid the typical pitfalls in observing time estimates and enhance the Technical Feasibility section of your proposal by reviewing the presentations given at the Proposal Tools Webinar! Associated video tutorials are now available.

To further help increase the chances of your proposal's success, use the inverse targets of observation plots to submit observing requests for complementary sky positions. The plots display regions of the sky where further research is needed and are optimum for planning efficient observations with SOFIA's unique observing platform.


Proposal Tools Webinar


proposal tools webinar banner

SOFIA Proposal Tools Webinar
Friday, Aug 9, 2019 9:00 am – 12:00 pm (PDT)

In its first Proposal Tools Webinar held exactly four weeks before the upcoming deadline of the Call for Proposals (6 September 2019 PDT), the SOFIA Science Center will offer an interactive, web-based course on the proposal tools available for Cycle 8. This webinar is for astronomers world-wide who are considering a SOFIA proposal or working on one, to help proposers avoid the typical pitfalls in observing time estimates and enhance the Technical Feasibility section of their proposals. After the webinar, a video tutorial available for download.

For more information on the Webinar, visit the official Proposal tools Webinar webpage.

Cycle 8 Calls Released


SOFIA Cycle 8 Call for Proposals timeline

Cycle 8 webpage

Read the Call for Proposals (for regular proposals) here
Read the Call for Proposals for the SOFIA Legacy Program (SLP) and the SOFIA Archivial Research Program (SARP) here
Read the Observer's Handbook for Cycle 8 here

On May 31, 2019, the SOFIA program released two Calls for Proposals with three types of proposal opportunities: one Call for regular proposals, and a separate Call for both the SOFIA Legacy Program (SLP) and the new SOFIA Archival Research Program (SARP). Funding is available for Guest Observers with affiliations in the U.S.; the total available Guest Observer funding available for Cycle 8 is expected to be approximately $3M for regular proposals, $2M per year for SLP proposals, and $300k for SARP proposals. 

The Calls were issued on behalf of NASA by the Universities Space Research Association (USRA). There will be a formal update to the Call for Proposals on July 20, 2019 and the deadline for submitting proposals is September 6, 2019, 21:00 PDT (September 7, 2019, 4:00 UTC).

SOFIA Science on Tour will conclude with a proposal tool webinar on Friday, August 9, 2019. Participants will be led through guided examples and have the chance to ask questions live while learning how to use SOFIA’s tools to submit proposals. More information coming soon.

More information about the Cycle 8 Calls for Proposals on the main Cycle 8 webpage.

Science on Tour

SOFIA Science on Tour
View the schedule here.

From May to August 2019, members of the SOFIA science team will be deployed across the U.S. to present recent SOFIA science and provide help to current users and proposers through seminars and workshops, depending on the needs of the local community. At no cost to participants or the host institution, SOFIA Science on Tour enables research institutes and university departments to offer staff and students free resources to learn about new research discoveries and opportunities through a diverse range of presentations, tutorials, and targeted technical support.

Contact the Help Desk for more information on how to get SOFIA Science on Tour to come to your institution with an event specifically tailored to the needs of your staff and students.

Cycle 7 Results Released


View the Cycle 7 Results here.

SOFIA has officially announced the selected proposals awarded time for its Cycle 7 observing period, scheduled to begin in April 2019. Cycle 7 will feature exciting science probing a diverse range of astronomical phenomena, from the solar system, to stars and the interstellar medium, to extragalactic sources. 

Cycle 7 also introduces SOFIA Legacy Programs: large programs that can span two observing cycles using about 100 hours of observing time. They are designed to enable community involvement in high-impact science by immediately releasing their fully reduced observational data for public use.

The following two SOFIA Legacy Programs have been selected for Cycle 7:

Constraining Recent Star Formation in the Galactic Center
PI: Matthew Hankins, Caltech
Proposal ID 07_0189

The Galactic Center presents the most extreme conditions for star formation, containing more than 80 percent of the Milky Way Galaxy’s dense molecular gas, high temperatures, significant turbulence, complex magnetic fields, and a strong gravitational potential well. Despite the large amount of dense gas, observations reveal that the rate of star formation is only 0.1 solar masses per year out of the 1.2 solar masses per year produced by the entire galaxy -- 10 times less than predictions by current theoretical models. 

This program aims at providing high-quality mosaics of bright infrared regions within the Galactic Center using the Faint Object infraRed CAmera for the SOFIA Telescope (FORCAST), which excels at producing images and spectroscopic data from infrared-bright areas. The FORCAST 25- and 37-micron bands will be used to create a searchable mid-infrared map of the Galactic Center and a point source catalog with an unprecedented spatial resolution -- six times higher than past observations. 

These infrared maps will greatly aid in the creation of a census of massive young stellar objects, thereby updating constraints for the star formation rate in the Galactic Center and improve star formation models for this region.

Radiative and Mechanical Feedback in Regions of Massive Star Formation 
Co-PIs: Alexander G.G.M. Tielens, University of Maryland; Nicola Schneider, University of Cologne, Germany
Proposal ID 07_0077

Massive stars are powerful and dynamic energy sources for the interstellar medium, capable of hindering star formation through molecular cloud dissolution or acting as a catalyst through cloud compression. Studying the radiative and mechanical feedback processes of massive stars on their environments therefore yields information about the evolution of the interstellar medium. In a sense, this SOFIA Legacy Program is the expansion of the study of the Orion Nebula published in Nature (see above) to other massive star-forming regions in our galaxy. This program will survey 11 regions including quintessential representatives of their type, including single O- or B-stars, small groups of O stars, rich stellar clusters, and mini starbursts, for a big-picture look at the interaction of massive stars with the interstellar medium throughout the universe.

New Cookbook Recipes Released


Cookbook Recipes

SOFIA Cookbooks logo

The Cookbooks Recipes contain guided examples of common data analysis objectives using SOFIA processed data. They are written for a graduate student audience and are intended to be used with the Data Handbooks. The Cookbook Recipes and Data Handbooks are located on the Data Resources webpage.

SOFIA currently has the following Cookbook Recipes available:

FORCAST Photometry
Performing aperture photometry using flux calibrated FORCAST images accessed through Flexible Image Transport System (FITS) files

FORCAST Grism Spectra Series:
I.  Basic Inspection and Assessment
Python tutorial on plotting and analyzing data
II.  Custom Spectral Extraction
Tutorial utilizing Level 2 two-dimensional images produced by the FORCAST pipeline
III.  Basic Line Analysis

HAWC+ Data Recipe with 30 Doradus Publicly Available SDDT Data
Guides users through Python analysis techniques using the 30 Doradus dataset, teaching readers how to probe HAWC+ data cubes and learn basic analysis techniques—such as plotting Stokes parameters, error maps, and polarization vectors—to jump-start their own research.

FIFI-LS: Basic Cube Analysis using SOSPEX
Basic spectroscopic cube analysis using the SOFIA python tool SPecturm Explorer (SOSPEX), which displays FIFI-LS and GREAT spectral cubes and allows the user to perform a number of basic analysis routines on them. The cube is shown as a 2D image (spatial image obtained as average along the wavelength dimension) and as a spectrum (sum of spatial pixels of the original cube).

GREAT: How to View GREAT Spectra Using CLASS Utility
Finding a sample data set through modifying the baseline fit, averaging, and saving the result in a Flexible Image Transport System (FITS) file using the Continuum and Line Analysis Single-dish Software (CLASS) utility, the standard for single-dish heterodyne spectroscopy data reduction.