Saturday, March 25, 2023

NASA’s flying telescope SOFIA returns to New Zealand to better observe celestial bodies. science-environment

NASA’s flying telescope, the Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy, or SOFIA, has returned to Christchurch, New Zealand for the seventh and final time to better observe celestial bodies in the Southern Hemisphere.

The telescope has made 12 deployments during its operational lifetime to observe celestial objects and events that are not visible from their home skies. With its long-term deployment in New Zealand, SOFIA now operates 32 flights to observe a wide range of celestial objects and phenomena, such as the cosmic magnetic field, stellar feedback and cosmic rays, using two instruments, HAWC+ and GREAT, the agency is planning to do. Said on Saturday.

SOFIA, a joint project of NASA and the German Space Agency at the DLR, will observe magnetic fields in our galaxy, the Milky Way. The telescope can detect cosmic magnetic fields at many scales, including star formation scales, particularly along filaments.

According to NASA, many major celestial objects to astronomers such as the center of our galaxy are either visible only from the Southern Hemisphere or are more easily seen from these latitudes.

“We are thrilled to return to Christchurch to continue studying and exploring the infrared universe,” said SOFIA project scientist Naseem Rangwala.

Designed to observe the infrared universe, SOFIA is a Boeing 747SP aircraft modified to carry a 2.7-metre (106-inch) reflecting telescope. Unlike space-based telescopes, it descends after each flight, so its instruments can be exchanged, servicing, or upgraded to use new technologies.

SOFIA completed its five-year major mission in 2019 and is currently completing a three-year mission extension. The flying telescope will cease operations no later than September 30, 2022, at the conclusion of its current mission extension.

Nation World News Desk
Nation World News Desk
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