11h of SOFIA observing time granted

Friday, October 2, 2015

A relatively big time request of 11 hours was recently granted on the flying observatory SOFIA for Cycle 4 (Feb 2016-Jan 2017). The modified 747-SP hosts a 2.5m telescope that is lifted up more than 40.000 feet  in flight and able to observe the far-IR emission that would otherwise be strongly absorbed by the earth atmosphere. A large suite of instruments can be used onboard of SOFIA and for the CARS project we applied for FIFI-LS time which is a 3D spectrograph operating in the FIR in two channels that allow to observe two FIR emission lines within a 1'x1' large FOV. For CARS we are particularly interested to map the distribution and kinematics of the [CII] 157µm line. We want to test whether [CII] is tracing star formation and what contribution the AGN radiation field has to excite the line. Given that the FOV is exactly matching that of MUSE we can directly compare the light distribution and kinematics of Halpha and [CII] although the spatial resolution in the FIR is 5-10 times worth than in the optical.

SOFIA Observatory during flight with open doors during a test flight on the 13th July 2010. Source: NASA/Jim Ross