SOFIA Airborne Observatory Begins 2015 Science Campaign
First series of flights uses German receiver GREAT
SOFIA, the Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy, began its third season of science flights on Jan. 13, 2015. SOFIA is a joint project of NASA and the German DLR, a next generation flying observatory fitted with a 2.5-meter (100-inch) diameter telescope that studies the universe at infrared wavelengths. The first flight used the German Receiver for Astronomy at Terahertz Frequencies (GREAT) spectrometer to study the chemical composition and motions of gas in a star-forming region, a young star, and a supernova remnant. The observations at infrared wavelengths allow e.g. to see through interstellar dust to record the spectral signatures of molecules in such regions to study the abundances of molecules and their formation process.