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Selected Highlights of the Data Archive
The following programs have data available for download and analysis by the astronomy community; select the title of the observation for detailed information on each program and the results achieved. Data analysis tools are provided by the SOFIA Science Center, in addition to tutorials on using these tools to analyze SOFIA processed data. Information about the SOFIA data archive can be found here.
Galactic Center Legacy Program
The inaugural Legacy Program used the FORCAST instrument to observe the Galactic Center using the 25-micron and 37-micron bands. The data have unprecedented spatial resolution – six times higher than past observations — resulting in a vastly improved view of warm dust in the center of the galaxy and revealing signatures of star formation in exquisite detail.
FORCAST created high-quality mosaics of the most active star forming portions of the inner ~200 pc of the galaxy with an angular resolution of 2.3" and 3.4" for the 25 and 37 μm observations, respectively. They cover more than 99% of the hard saturated area in the corresponding Spitzer/MIPS mosaic. An overview paper meant to accompany the first survey data release has recently been published in ApJ. The data are available publicly available in the archive for further research. The composite image shows SOFIA data taken at 25 and 37 μm in blue and green, data from Herschel in red (70 μm), and the Spitzer Space Telescope in white (8 μm).
The Carina Nebula is home to several massive star clusters and more than 65 O stars. The Trumpler 16 cluster, including its famous member eta Carina, is thought to power the winds and radiation responsible for carving out the complex structures seen in Figure 1. Based on the morphology of these structures, this region of the Carina Nebula known as the South Pillars. Because these pillars are likely formed by the strong winds and radiation of massive stars, they are ideal places to investigate the interaction between this stellar feedback and dense molecular gas. Using the fully-sampled and velocity-resolved GREAT maps of these pillars, scientists can probe the kinematics, morphology, and physical conditions within these interesting regions.
The entire galaxy M51 was imaged using both FIFI-LS and GREAT. The FIFI-LS observations took only 7 hr of observatory (wall-clock) time. The image is shown with a surface brightness scale in units of erg/s/cm2/sr. Read more here.
“A SOFIA Survey of [C II] in the Galaxy M51. I. [C II] as a Tracer of Star Formation”
J.L.Pineda et al (2018), ApJL, 869, L30
Polarization maps of the star-forming region 30 Doradus in the Large Magellanic Cloud using HAWC+. The maps were taken at 53, 89, 154, and 214 μm, revealing dust emission between 10-100 K and allowing for an inferred morphology study of the magnetic field. Read more here.
"SOFIA Community Science I: HAWC+ Polarimetry of 30 Doradus"
Gordon, et al, 2018, arXiv:1811.03100.
Velocity resolved map of the Horsehead Nebula—a dark nebula and photodissociation region in the Orion Molecular Cloud Complex—using GREAT. The map was taken in the [C II] line at 158 μm. Read more here.
"Kinematics of the Horsehead Nebula and IC 434 Ionization Front in CO and C+"
Bally, John, et al., 2018, AJ, 155, 80.
Imaging and grism spectroscopic data to probe the ejecta and surroundings of the bright Type Ia Supernova, SN 2014J, in M82. The observations were taken using FORCAST and the now retired instruments FLITECAM and HIPO. Read more here.
"Observations of Type Ia Supernova 2014J with FLITECAM/SOFIA"
Vacca, W. D., et al., 2015, ApJ, 804, 66.