The Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy, SOFIA, a joint project of NASA and the German Aerospace Center (DLR), has commenced scientific operations. SOFIA took off on its first scientific observation flight on 30 November 2010 at 19:34 hrs local time, from the NASA Dryden Aircraft Operations Facility in Palmdale, California. The subject of the night-time observations was the constellation of Orion, with its numerous, interesting star forming regions. The water vapour in Earth's atmosphere does not allow infrared light to pass through, making these observations carried out with SOFIA impossible from the ground.
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