Tech

April 18, 2012

NASA selects science instrument upgrade for flying observatory

NASA photograph by Carla Thomas
Ground crewmen approach NASA's SOFIA flying observatory shortly after the modified Boeing 747SP carrying a 100-inch telescope landed following an all-night astronomical observation mission.

NASA has selected a science instrument upgrade to the Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy airborne observatory.

The instrument, the High-resolution Airborne Wideband Camera, will provide a sensitive, versatile and reliable imaging capability to the SOFIA user community.

The upgrade involves two proposals that will allow the observatory to measure the structure and strength of magnetic fields in diverse objects throughout the universe, such as star-forming clouds and galaxies. This will help astronomers better understand how stars, planets and galaxies form and evolve.

SOFIA is a highly modified Boeing 747SP aircraft that carries a telescope with a 100-inch (2.5-meter) diameter reflecting mirror that conducts astronomy research not possible with ground-based telescopes. By operating in the stratosphere at altitudes up to 45,000 feet, SOFIA can make observations above the water vapor in Earth’s lower atmosphere.

“SOFIA has the ability to become a world-class airborne observatory that complements the Hubble, Spitzer and Herschel space telescopes,” said John Grunsfeld, NASA’s Science Mission Directorate associate administrator. “This upgrade will greatly broaden SOFIA’s capabilities.”

Last August, the agency released an Announcement of Opportunity for SOFIA second-generation instrument investigations and received 11 proposals. The selected proposals were judged to have the best science value and feasible development plans.

 

The selected proposals are:

  • The High-resolution Airborne Wideband Camera Polarization (HAWC-Pol), Charles Dowell, principal investigator, NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif. This investigation upgrades the HAWC instrument to include the capability to make polarimetric observations at far-infrared wavelengths. The investigation’s main goals are to measure the magnetic field in the interstellar medium, star forming regions and the center of the Milky Way.
  • HAWC++, Johannes Staguhn, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore. This investigation will provide a sensitive, large-format detector array to the HAWC-Pol investigation, increasing its observing efficiency and providing a broader range of targets.

 

SOFIA is a joint project of NASA and the German Aerospace Center and is based and managed at NASA’s Dryden Aircraft Operations Facility in Palmdale, Calif. NASA’s Ames Research Center at Moffett Field, Calif., manages the SOFIA science and mission operations in cooperation with the Universities Space Research Association, headquartered in Columbia, Md., and the German SOFIA Institute at the University of Stuttgart.

 




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 

News Briefs July 29, 2015

U.S. Navy examines health concerns near Guantanamo court A complaint lodged with the Pentagon has prompted the U.S. Navy to look into the possible presence of anything that may cause cancer in a section of the base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, a military spokeswoman said July 28. The Navy Marine Corps Public Health Center and...
 
 
Air Force photograph by SrA. Betty R. Chevalier

New interrogation system installed on AWACS, more in pipeline

Air Force photograph by SrA. Betty R. Chevalier An E-3 Sentry AWACS from Tinker Air Force Base, Okla., prepares to land May 16, 2015. AWACS have the capability to detect enemy as well as friendly aircraft at great distances usi...
 
 

Remains of Pearl Harbor victims raised for identification

The military July 27 exhumed more caskets containing the unidentified remains of USS Oklahoma crew members killed in the 1941 bombing of Pearl Harbor. The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency disinterred five coffins from four grave sites at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific in Honolulu, where they have rested for decades. The work is...
 

 
Boeing photograph

Boeing Oklahoma City expansion grows facilities, business presence

Boeing photograph July 29, Boeing broke ground on a new laboratory facility in Oklahoma City. Mayor Mick Cornett, Commissioner Brian Maughan, President of Boeing Global Services and Support Leanne Caret, Oklahoma Governor Mary ...
 
 

NASA awards contract to support agency’s human spaceflight programs

NASA has selected Wyle Laboratories Inc., of El Segundo, Calif., to provide biomedical, medical and health services in support of all human spaceflight programs at the agency’s Johnson Space Center in Houston. The work supports ongoing research aboard the International Space Station and helps enable the journey to Mars. The Human Health and Performance contract...
 
 

Boeing unveils first RAAF Growler

Boeing and the U.S. Navy July 29 extended advanced airborne electronic attack capability to a key U.S. ally, presenting the Royal Australian Air Force with its first EA-18G Growler. Australia is the first country other than the U.S. to obtain this aircraft. The Growlers will complement our existing and future air combat capability, and we...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>