Prof. Dr. rer. nat. Alfred Krabbe

Barbara Klett

Dr.-Ing. Thomas Keilig

Deputy SMO Director (Kalifornien)

Standortleiter AFRC & SOFIA Teleskop Manager
Dipl.-Ing. Michael Hütwohl

Standortleiter ARC & und Facility Scientist
Dr. rer. nat. Jürgen Wolf

Technology Advisor
Prof. Dr.-Ing. Jörg Wagner

Bildungs- und Öffentlichkeitsarbeit
Dr. rer. nat. Dörte Mehlert

Deutsches SOFIA Institut
Pfaffenwaldring 29
70569 Stuttgart

Tel. +49 (0)711/685-62379
Fax +49 (0)711/685-63596


SOFIA Science Demonstration Time - German Call for Proposals

The Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA) is pleased to invite proposals for Science Demonstration observations, which are expected to take place in mid 2011, in a 2-3 month interval within the time period of May through July.

The Science Demonstration phase is part of the SOFIA Basic Science program. Additional information and results of the US-led Basic Science Call for Proposals can be found on the Basic Sciencewebsite of our partner organization USRA.

Key Documents

SOFIA Science Demonstration German Call for Proposals

Basic Science Data Rights Agreement

SOFIA Observer's Handbook for Basic Science: v1.1.0
(Make sure you have the most recent version of the document - do not use earlier versions of the Handbook.)

Observing Moving Targets during Basic Science
(This white paper is a supplement to the Observer's Handbook.)


While the details are dependent on the overall SOFIA schedule, the nominal schedule for the Science Demonstration observing program is as follows:

February 20, 2011 Release of Draft Call for Proposals
Feb 28 / Mar 1, 2011 SOFIA Workshop Stuttgart
March 4, 2011 Release Final Call for Proposals
March 21, 2011 Proposal Phase 1 Submission deadline
April 15, 2011 Selected Proposals Announced
April 29, 2011 FORCAST Proposal Phase 2 Submission deadline

May 13, 2011

GREAT Proposal Phase 2 Submission deadline
May-September 2011 Nominal Science Demonstration Flights Window.
(FORCAST in May/June, GREAT in July and September)


For Basic Science, two instruments will be available:

  • FORCAST, a mid-IR camera operating in the 5-40 micron range and
  • GREAT, a FIR heterodyne spectrometer operating in the 60-200 micron range.

These instruments are described in detail on the web pages referenced above. For both instruments, details relevant to the proposal are to be found in the Observer's Handbook and in references therein. The most recent available information about instruments capabilites which will be available for Basic Science can be found in the Observer's Handbook for FORCAST, and on the Science Demonstration instrument page for GREAT.

SOFIA Proposal Tool (SPT)

All proposals are to be prepared using the SOFIA Proposal Tool, which is based on the Astronomer's Proposal Tool (APT) used for Hubble Space Telescope proposals.

Please note that for the Science Demonstration phase proposals are to be submitted via webform. The submit button of the SPT will be inoperative. Detailed instructions of the submission process can be found in the German Call for Proposals document.

You can download the SPT from the website of the SOFIA Data Cycle System (DCS)  (Note: ignore the username/password boxes at the top of the page.)

Proposal Templates

For the text part of the proposal we provide template files for LaTeX and Microsoft Word. The use of these template files is not mandatory, but the page limitations given in the Call for Proposals must be complied with.

Submittal Form

Please note that during Phase I of the SOFIA Science Demonstration Time German Call for Proposals the "Submit" button of the SPT will remain inoperative. Please export the proposal information as PDF file as described in detail in the Call for Proposals. The proposal must then be submitted through a webform on this website.

Observation Planning

Reserved Observation Catalogs (ROCs)

Tables containing the basic information about reserved targets are included as appendices in the Call for Proposals. For convenience, these catalogs are also provided as PDF and comma separated value (CSV) files:

Calibration Plan

The Calibration Plan for SOFIA Early Science outlines the procedures for flux calibration during Basic Science developed by the SMO staff Calibration Working Group.

Observation Planning with FORCAST

The exposure times for proposed FORCAST observations should be estimated using the online tool SOFIA Instrument Time Estimator (SITE)available at the DCS. (Note: ignore the username/password boxes at the top of the page.)

Examples of observation planning with FORCAST:

Observation Planning with GREAT

The exposure times for proposed GREAT observations should be estimated using the online tool SOFIA GREAT Time Estimator.  For a detailed description of the estimation process, please refer to the Guide to GREAT.

Example of observation planning with GREAT:

This example does not consider the GREAT Time Estimator online tool or Basic Science specific limitations of the instrument. An updated example for observation planning with GREAT is in preparation and will be downloadable from this website as soon as it is available.

Target Visibility Tool (VT)

The target visibility for SOFIA can be determined using the on-line Target Visibility Tool hosted at the DCS. Instructions on using VT are available by clicking the "Help" or "?" icon on the top left of the applet. (Note: ignore the username/password boxes at the top of the page.)

See the German Call for Proposals document for details about permissible target elevations and flight times.

Note: When using SIMBAD lookup in the Visibility Tool for a named target, sometimes the name is either not recognized or the incorrect co-ordinates are returned. For several target names that include the plus (+) or minus (-) sign, the VT/SIMBAD query mechanism does not correctly handle the string of text following the sign. As a consequence, the name is not recognized as a target, or the query defaults to a different target. For any such target name, we suggest querying SIMBAD directly and entering co-ordinates explicitly into VT.

Funding for Germany based Investigators

For this exceptional  series of Science Demonstration flights, limited travel funds are available for representatives of the selected proposals. See Funding for more detailed information.

Additional Information

The COSPAR Paper Status of the Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA) (Gehrz et al., 2011, arXiv:1102.1050) contains information about the telescope and the mission, which could be useful for proposers.

"The Science Vision for the Stratospheric Observatory For Infrared Astronomy" (PDF, 21 MB) presents the overall vision for the mission and highlights key science questions that will be addressed by SOFIA.

We will maintain a page of Frequently Asked Questions by proposing observers.