SOFIA's Window Seat

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#84905 by @ 26.02.2006 00:00 - nach oben -
SOFIA's Window Seat


Explanation:

Earlier this month, a 2.5-meter diameter
infrared telescope
was permanently assigned
a window seat, looking through this opening
in the fuselage of a historic Boeing 747 aircraft.

The telescope mirror, about the
size of the Hubble Space Telescope mirror, is protected by a
red covering.

Known as the Stratospheric Observatory For Infrared Astronomy
(SOFIA), the airborne
observatory is intended to
fly at altitudes up to 45,000 feet - above more than 99% of
the atmospheric water vapor.

Water vapor strongly absorbs
infrared light, so
at that altitude SOFIA will be able to acquire
infrared images not possible for even the largest
ground-based telescopes.

SOFIA's unique capabilities will include the ability to trace
complex molecules in the cosmic environments surrounding
star birth and death and the formation of
new solar systems.

The SOFIA aircraft was operated by Pan American World
Airways and was originally christened the "Clipper Lindbergh".

The airborne observatory was designed with an on board console for
teachers and other
educators to
participate
in research flights.




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