NASA's SOFIA Observatory Obtains 'First Light' Imagery

May 27, 2010, JPL/NASA
Faint specks of starlight are reflected by the 100-inch (2.5 meter) primary mirror on NASA's Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA) during ground testing of the Faint Object Infrared Camera for the SOFIA Telescope (FORCAST). (NASA/Tom Tschida)

(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 morning, May 26. Scientists are now processing the data gathered with the German-built 2.5-meter telescope and Cornell University's Faint Object infrared Camera for the SOFIA Telescope, or FORCAST, mounted in the highly modified Boeing 747SP.

The airborne observatory obtained its first in-flight, nighttime celestial observations with a crew of 10 scientists, engineers and technicians from NASA, Universities Space Research Association (USRA), the German SOFIA Institute (DSI) and Cornell University, Ithaca, N.Y. aboard. The highly modified Boeing 747SP with the high-tech telescope took off from NASA's Dryden Aircraft Operations facility in Palmdale, Calif., at 9:44 p.m., Tuesday, May 25, for the nearly 8-hour flight before landing shortly before sunrise Wednesday.

Scientists are now processing the data gathered with the German-built 2.5-meter telescope and Cornell University's Faint Object for the SOFIA , also known as FORCAST. FORCAST is unique in that it records energy coming from space at infrared wavelengths between 5 and 40 microns - most of which cannot be seen by ground-based telescopes due to blockage by in Earth’s atmosphere.

Explore further: CU telescope debuts on NASA flying observatory

Related Stories

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).

SOFIA Telescope Assembly Activated In Flight

January 21, 2010

(PhysOrg.com) -- NASA's Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy successfully completed telescope assembly activation during an almost six-hour test flight Jan. 15.

NASA Astronomical Observatory Passes Hurdle

June 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.

Flying Telescope Passes Key Test

January 8, 2010

Most astronomers wouldn't dream of opening their observatory's doors in 100 mph winds. Yet NASA's new SOFIA telescope recently flew in an airplane at 250 mph with doors wide open.

Recommended for you

First science with ALMA's highest-frequency capabilities

August 17, 2018

The ALMA telescope in Chile has transformed how we see the universe, showing us otherwise invisible parts of the cosmos. This array of incredibly precise antennas studies a comparatively high-frequency sliver of radio light: ...

Magnetized inflow accreting to center of Milky Way galaxy

August 17, 2018

Are magnetic fields an important guiding force for gas accreting to a supermassive black hole (SMBH) like the one that our Milky Way galaxy hosts? The role of magnetic fields in gas accretion is little understood, and trying ...

Six things about Opportunity's recovery efforts

August 17, 2018

NASA's Opportunity rover has been silent since June 10, when a planet-encircling dust storm cut off solar power for the nearly-15-year-old rover. Now that scientists think the global dust storm is "decaying"—meaning more ...

Another way for stellar-mass black holes to grow larger

August 17, 2018

A trio of researchers with The University of Hong Kong, Academia Sinica Institute of Astronomy and Astrophysics in Taiwan and Northwestern University in the U.S., has come up with an alternative theory to explain how some ...

Hubble paints picture of the evolving universe

August 16, 2018

Astronomers using the ultraviolet vision of NASA's Hubble Space Telescope have captured one of the largest panoramic views of the fire and fury of star birth in the distant universe. The field features approximately 15,000 ...

2 comments

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

yyz
not rated yet May 28, 2010
So.......what object(s) did they target?
vidyunmaya
1 / 5 (1) May 28, 2010
Sub:Simplified Observatories-Knowledge Drive
This is a good technique -to help if the instruments are designed properly-for Environment Sensex.This promotes Space Cooperation.
I can suggest a few more if the Scientific groups are serious-Support- Protect IPRs- Discuss and Impliment.
Cosmology Vedas Promotes Inventions
http://www.scribd...ORMATION
http://www.scribd...-OUTLINE
http://www.scribd...Dec-1999
Vidyardhi Nanduri

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.