Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy


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Related to Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy: Stratospheric Ozone, Herschel Space Observatory

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.
Collins Dictionary of Astronomy © Market House Books Ltd, 2006
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The contributions that an airplane-based telescope like the Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy would provide in conjunction with other space missions would increase our understanding of the cosmos immeasurably.
For infrared, the West Germans expect to provide 15 to 25 percent of the cost of NASA's planned Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA), an aircraft that will carry a 3-meter telescope for observations while flying.
From my perspective, the unkindest cut of all involves the Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy. SOFIA features a 2.5-meter (98-inch) telescope in a Boeing 747 meant to fly at altitudes up to 13,700 meters (45,000 feet), above 99% of the atmosphere's infrared-absorbing water vapor.
Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA) Cassegrain 2.5 m f/19.6 Boeing 747-SP aircraft Airborne -- -- 12,800-13,450 m To be based at the NASA Ames Research Center (Moffett Field, CA), this airborne observatory is scheduled for first flight in 2002.
Another link goes to a three-dimensional model of the airborne Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA) in VRML (Virtual Reality Markup Language), where you have more flexibility in roaming around and seeing the aircraft in perspective.
This will become much easier when NASA's Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy is commissioned in 2 1/2 years (see above).

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