GREAT spectrometer readied for flight on SOFIA

Mar 31, 2011 By Beth Hagenauer
GREAT spectrometer readied for flight on SOFIA
The German Receiver for Astronomy at Terahertz Frequencies, or GREAT, spectrometer was installed on SOFIA's telescope on March 18, 2011. Credit: DLR/GREAT

(PhysOrg.com) -- Scientists recently completed a series of nighttime, ground-based testing of the German Receiver for Astronomy at Terahertz Frequencies, or GREAT, spectrometer in preparation for a series of astronomical science flights on the Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy in April. With the SOFIA 747SP aircraft positioned on the ramp outside NASA’s Dryden Aircraft Operations Facility, the upper door covering the telescope was opened and GREAT’s interaction with the telescope was evaluated.

The GREAT instrument is a receiver for spectroscopic observations at far-infrared frequencies between 1.2 and 5 terahertz (wavelengths between 60 and 250 microns). Those wavelengths are not accessible from ground-based telescopes because of atmospheric water vapor absorption.

GREAT is one of two first-generation instruments built for SOFIA by a consortium of German research institutes, including the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy, the University of Cologne, the German Aerospace Center and the Max Planck Society. The Max Planck Society and German Research Society financed the development of the instrument.

SOFIA is a joint venture of and the German Aerospace Center DLR. NASA supplied the aircraft and the telescope was built in Germany. NASA’s Dryden Flight Research Center manages the SOFIA program. NASA's Ames Research Center at Moffett Field, Calif., manages SOFIA's scientific mission. The Universities Space Research Association, in Columbia, Md., and the German SOFIA Institute in Stuttgart, Germany, operate SOFIA's scientific mission operations respectively for NASA and the DLR.

Explore further: Total lunar eclipse before dawn on April 4th

Related Stories

NASA's SOFIA Observatory Obtains 'First Light' Imagery

May 27, 2010

(PhysOrg.com) -- NASA's Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy, or SOFIA, successfully obtained its first in-flight, nighttime celestial observations during its “First Light” mission early Wednesday ...

SOFIA Observatory Prepares For Early Science Flights

Oct 05, 2010

(PhysOrg.com) -- Testing of the entire integrated observatory system and individual subsystems on NASA's Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy 747SP is slated to occur during October during a series ...

NASA Astronomical Observatory Passes Hurdle

Jun 15, 2006

The world's largest airborne astronomical observatory has passed a technical and programmatic review that could potentially lead to the continuation of the mission.

SOFIA Prepares for Short Science

Nov 10, 2010

(PhysOrg.com) -- The SOFIA flying observatory was the subject of several nights of telescope system checkout activities in mid-October in preparation for upcoming early astronomical science flights.

CU telescope debuts on NASA flying observatory

May 25, 2010

(PhysOrg.com) -- SOFIA, the Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy, will take flight May 25 along with the Cornell-built FORCAST (the Faint Object InfraRed Camera for the SOFIA Telescope).

Recommended for you

Total lunar eclipse before dawn on April 4th

10 hours ago

An unusually brief total eclipse of the Moon will be visible before dawn this Saturday, April 4th, from western North America. The eclipse happens on Saturday evening for Australia and East Asia.

Cassini: Return to Rhea

23 hours ago

After a couple of years in high-inclination orbits that limited its ability to encounter Saturn's moons, NASA's Cassini spacecraft returned to Saturn's equatorial plane in March 2015.

Comet dust—planet Mercury's 'invisible paint'

Mar 30, 2015

A team of scientists has a new explanation for the planet Mercury's dark, barely reflective surface. In a paper published in Nature Geoscience, the researchers suggest that a steady dusting of carbon from p ...

It's 'full spin ahead' for NASA soil moisture mapper

Mar 30, 2015

The 20-foot (6-meter) "golden lasso" reflector antenna atop NASA's new Soil Moisture Active Passive (SMAP) observatory is now ready to wrangle up high-resolution global soil moisture data, following the successful ...

What drives the solar cycle?

Mar 30, 2015

You can be thankful that we bask in the glow of a relatively placid star. Currently about halfway along its 10 billion year career on the Main Sequence, our sun fuses hydrogen into helium in a battle against ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.