ii. Preface

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ii.   Preface

The SOFIA Observer's Handbook for Cycle 6 (hereafter referred to as the Observer's Handbook), provides detailed information about SOFIA operations and the instruments that will be available for observations during Cycle 6, nominally scheduled for 1 February, 2018–31 January, 2019. This document is the primary technical reference for astronomers who wish to submit a proposal in response to the SOFIA Cycle 6 Call for Proposals (CfP). The CfP document and the Observer's Handbook (along with the documents and websites explicitly referred to within) contain information sufficient for planning viable SOFIA observations.

SOFIA is a joint project of NASA and the Deutsches Zentrum für Luft und Raumfahrt (DLR). The SOFIA Science Center (SSC), responsible for overseeing the scientific aspects of the mission, is located at the NASA Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, CA. Flight operations are conducted out of the NASA Armstrong Flight Research Center (AFRC) in Palmdale, CA. The Science Mission Operations are jointly managed by the Universities Space Research Association (USRA) for NASA and by the Deutsches SOFIA Institut (DSI), in Stuttgart, for DLR. Aircraft operations are managed by NASA AFRC.

This version of the handbook is applicable to for Cycle 6. Between the time of writing and the start of Cycle 6 observations, the analysis of data obtained as part of ongoing Instrument Commissioning work for HAWC+ are likely to provide more empirical information regarding instrument performance. The Observer's Handbook will be updated as necessary and the list of changes will be included at the beginning of the document. Critical updates will also be published on the Cycle 6 web page. Any information that supersedes what is given in this document will be explicitly indicated.

The following additional documents are available on the SOFIA Information for Researchers web pages.

  • The SOFIA Cycle 6 Call for Proposals describes how to prepare and submit proposals. It includes details on how proposals will be evaluated. It formally establishes the policies for all matters concerned with the rules governing SOFIA Cycle 6 for guest observers.
  • The FORCAST Observation Modes document provides an explanation of the basic FORCAST observing modes for imaging observations.
  • The HIPO Throughput/Sensitivity Spreadsheet provides tools to estimate the signal-to-noise for HIPO observations.
  • The Science Instrument Suite web pages provide a brief overview of the suite of instruments that will be available on SOFIA once it reaches full operational capability.
  • The Science Vision for the Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy presents many compelling science questions that SOFIA is uniquely positioned to address. The complementarity among several astronomical facilities (current and future, particularly in the IR/mm wavelength regime) are discussed where relevant. Please note, that any information regarding the performance of the telescope and instruments contained within the "Science Vision" is superseded by this document and the SOFIA web sites.

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