Status of the Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA)
The Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA) is now performing scientific observations and the results of the second open observing cycle solicitation is about to be announced. With an available wavelength coverage from the visual to sub-mm wavelengths and a long life time - including planned instrument upgrades, SOFIA will provide critical resource for the astronomical community for the next decade and beyond. Current and expected SOFIA instruments provide heterodyne spectroscopy in the THz band, including the line of [O I], [C II] and [N II] as well as OH, HD and many other hydrides, at high spectral resolution. Echelle spectroscopy in the Mid-infrared (MIR) which will allow observations of e.g. fine-structure lines of and H2 pure rotational lines. These will help address questions of interstellar chemistry and physics in star forming regions, PDRs and galaxies. Mid-infrared (MIR) grism spectroscopy, of e.g. dust and ices, can be used to address questions of the freeze-out of molecules from the gas phase to better understand the formation, destruction and characteristics of interstellar ices. Imaging in the MIR and FIR and FIR polarimetry can provide a more complete picture of the temperature, density and magnetic field structure of e.g. star forming cores. I will highlight the current and expected capabilities of SOFIA and some of the early science results achieved.
About the talk
SOFIA Science Center-USRA