SOFIA Instrument Suite

SOFIA Instruments Resolving Power plot

EXES: Echelon-Cross-Echelle Spectrograph
FIFI-LS: Field Imaging Far-Infrared Line Spectrometer
FORCAST: Faint Object InfraRed CAmera for the SOFIA Telescope
FPI+: Focal Plane Imager
GREAT: German Receiver for Astronomy at Terahertz Frequencies
HAWC+: High-resolution Airborne Wideband Camera

Information on the SOFIA instruments may be found on their respective instrument overview pages (see links above, which also include each instrument's primary technical references), the Observer's Handbook (primary technical resource for proposal submission), Quick Guide (brief booklet with an overview of each instrument and science examples), previously presented Science Posters, and slides from past workshops.

Supplementary Instruments

GUIDERS: Guider cameras
WV MONITOR: Water Vapor Monitor

There are three classes of science instruments: Facility-class, Principal Investigator-class and Special Purpose Principal Investigator-class Science Instruments (FSIs, PSIs and SSIs).

FSIs will be operated and maintained by the SOFIA Science Mission Operations (SMO). There will be a designated Instrument Scientist on the SMO staff for each FSI, who will support proposers wishing to use the instrument.

PSIs will be developed and maintained at the Principal Investigator's (PI's) institution. The instruments will be operated by the PSI Science Team members. However, there would typically be SOFIA SMO staff designated to provide additional support. In response to proposal calls, proposals implementing PSIs for observations may be submitted without consulting the Instrument PI or the Science Team. However, it is expected that the Instrument Science Teams would be involved in the technical review of the proposed observations, and for accepted proposals in the data acquisition, reduction and calibration.

An SSI is designed for a specific type of observation, and therefore with narrower scope than either FSIs or PSIs. In response to proposal calls, proposals implementing SSIs are allowed, but proposers are required to consult with the Instrument PI and obtain approval for the project before submitting a proposal. It is expected that the Instrument PI will work closely with proposers whose SSI proposal has been accepted.

FORCAST and HAWC+ are FSIs, FIFI-LS is currently being operated in PSI mode and will transition to an FSI sometime during 2015. EXES and GREAT are PSIs. Additional information may be found on the web pages for each instrument.

Three first-generation instruments, CASIMIR, SAFIRE, and AIRES were selected for SOFIA, but were halted at different stages of development. FLITECAM and HIPO were retired in 2018.

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