Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy

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Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy:

see infrared astronomyinfrared astronomy,
study of celestial objects by means of the infrared radiation they emit, in the wavelength range from about 1 micrometer to about 1 millimeter. All objects, from trees and buildings on the earth to distant galaxies, emit infrared (IR) radiation.
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Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy

(strat-ŏ-sfe -rik) (SOFIA) A large-aperture telescope system to be installed in a Boeing 747SP aircraft, allowing infrared (especially far-IR) and submillimeter observations to be made from altitudes of over 41 000 feet, i.e. above most of the absorbing atmosphere (see atmospheric windows). Under study by both NASA and the German Space Agency DASA, it will replace the Kuiper Airborne Observatory. The planned telescope diameter is 2.5 meters and the spatial resolution 1–2 arc seconds. The expected lifetime is 20 years. SOFIA will provide a platform from which follow-up observations can be made on a short timescale for projects such as IRAS, ISO, and SIRTF. It is expected to be operational in 2009.
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