The Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA) is an extensively modified Boeing 747SP aircraft carrying a 2.7-meter (106 inch) reflecting telescope (with an effective diameter of 2.5 meters or 100 inches). Researchers can apply to have their proposed objects observed through SOFIA. Click here or below to visit our page about past and present observation cycles.
- SOFIA USRA Website
- SOFIA USPOT Manual
- SOFIA Science Utilization Policies
- SOFIA Quick Guide
- SOFIA Technical Information
- SOFIA Data Cycle System (incl. Science Archive & AOR Search page)
- SOFIA Instrument Time Estimator (SITE)
- Atmospheric Transmission Estimator (ATRAN)
- Information for Authors
- SOFIA Publications & PhD Theses
- Director's Discretionary Time
- Flying on SOFIA (USRA)
- Presentations from SOFIA Workshops 2018
- Other useful presentations
The Observatory and DSI-Operated Instruments
The Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA) is an extensively modified Boeing 747SP aircraft carrying a 2.7-meter (106 inch) reflecting telescope (with an effective diameter of 2.5 meters or 100 inches). Especially interesting objects for SOFIA's observations are galaxies, star forming regions, the interstellar medium, our solar system, planets and comets.
SOFIA is a joint project of the German Aerospace Center (DLR) and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). The Deutsches SOFIA Institut (DSI) at the University of Stuttgart coordinates the scientific operations on the German side. The American scientific operations are planned by the NASA Ames Research Center (ARC) and the Universities Space Research Association (USRA). Flight tests and flight operations are led by the NASA Armstrong Flight Research Center (AFRC) to the north of Los Angeles. The NASA Ames Research Center (ARC) to the south of San Francisco conducts the scientific research flights. To facilitate smooth telescope operations, the majority of DSI employees are continuously posted on site in California.
The Field Imaging Far-Infrared Line-Spectrometer (FIFI-LS) is a first generation scientific instrument for SOFIA.
FIFI-LS can record spectra for each pixel of its 5x5 field of view per detector simultaneously. The instrument is a collaboration between NASA and the German Aerospace Center (DLR) and was developed and mainly integrated at the Max Planck Institute.
The Focal Plane Imager Plus (FPI+) is an instrument from the German Aerospace Center and is operated and maintained by the Deutsches SOFIA Institut.
The Astronomical Telescope of the University of Stuttgart (ATUS) is used as a training platform and research instrument for aerospace engineering students. In addition, the telescope is used to test and evaluate hardware and software before they are integrated into SOFIA.