SOFIA Blog | 22. June 2011 | posted by Henning Krause

Chasing Pluto's shadow

Pluto-Okkultation

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. read more

SOFIA Blog | 06. June 2011 | posted by Dietmar Lilienthal | 4 Comments

'Live' airborne astronomy

SOFIA: Teleskop

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? read more