Recent postings
 
 

Chasing Pluto's shadow

22. June 2011, 22.44
Astronomers on board SOFIA fly over most of the water vapour in the atmosphere; it is precisely this that makes the desired infrared observations possible. But the fact that SOFIA flies has another major advantage: it is a mobile observatory. In contrast to ground-based observatories, it can be used at different locations around the globe. This can be very useful, for example, for the Pluto occultation that will take place these days.
Henning Krause
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Henning Krause
 
 

One more time!

16. June 2011, 14.06
In my last blog entry, I focussed on a farewell to the shuttle fleet and some observations on the paradigm shift occurring in the space sector. Space Shuttle Endeavour has now landed safely and Atlantis is being prepared for launch. Images of the International Space Station (ISS) with Space Shuttle Endeavour and docked with the European space transporter ATV 'Johannes Kepler', taken from a Soyuz capsule as it was departing, already have historical value. This time, I would like to focus on my reappointment as Chairman of the DLR Executive Board and on the aspects that will be of central importance in my ongoing work.
Jan Wörner
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Jan Wörner
 
 

'Live' airborne astronomy

06. June 2011, 08.18
I had already been working on the SOFIA project for some years, when back in 1998, a consortium of German research institutes (Max-Planck Institute of Radio Astronomy in Bonn, University of Cologne, Max-Planck Institute of Solar System Research and the DLR Institute of Planetary Research) decided to develop the German Receiver for Astronomy at Terahertz Frequencies (GREAT) as the Principal Investigator-class Science Instrument for the first generation at the SOFIA Observatory. At this time, the aim was for the observatory to be operational by the end of 2001. It was not only the optimists who were expecting the GREAT spectrometer to soon enter operational service. Back then, who could have thought that it would take 13 years for GREAT to fly on SOFIA for the first time?
Dietmar Lilienthal
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Dietmar Lilienthal