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The Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA)

Abstract: SOFIA, the Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy is a modified 747sp housing a 2.5 meter telescope in the aft section. By flying in the low-water vapor environment of the stratosphere, SOFIA has access to observations impossible from ground-based telescopes, but maintains the flexibility and upgradability space-based telescopes tend to lack. This talk will discuss SOFIA’s suite of 7 astronomical instruments and future plans for SOFIA instrument development. The current generation of instruments cover the E/M spectrum from optical to THz frequencies. These instruments use cutting edge optics and detectors to capture unique astronomical data about star formation, solar system objects and the interstellar medium. New instruments and instrument upgrades will add to SOFIA’s capabilities over its estimated 20-year lifetime, maintaining SOFIA’s ability to pursue the latest scientific inquiries while also allowing synergy with the next generation of space and ground-based platforms.
Speaker: Erin Smith - NASA/AMES
Speaker Bio: Dr. Erin Smith serves as the Science Instrument Development Manager for SOFIA. She has also served as Project Scientist and Co-Investigator during the development of the SOFIA instrument FLITECAM, and has served as acting Principal Investigator during SOFIA science missions. Dr. Smith¹s expertise is in the development of astronomical instrumentation, imaging and spectroscopic investigation of Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons in the ISM
Poster Link: Poster