SOFIA Today and the Extended Mission: the New Project Scientist's Pespective

Wednesday, October 11, 2017 - 9:00am PDT
Kimberly Ennico
Event Type: 

The Stratospheric Observatory For Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA) combines a Hubble-sized telescope with a modified 747SP aircraft. At altitudes up to 45,000 feet, SOFIA can observe astrophysical phenomena above over 99% of the atmosphere's water vapor, allowing access to frequency ranges in the Terahertz regime to infrared wavelengths inaccessible from the ground. As SOFIA has evolved from a development project into a fully functional observatory, important advances have been made in several areas of topical astrophysical and solar system research: star formation, stellar evolution, astrochemistry, the structure and evolution of the interstellar medium in our Galaxy and external galaxies, astrophysical processes near supermassive black holes, planetary atmospheres, and moons and small bodies in the solar system. This talk gives my perspective, as the new SOFIA Project Scientist, evaluating the science demand for and breadth of the Observatory, scientific performance, scientific productivity, and, most importantly, its science future as we prepare for the Extended Mission phase.

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