SOFIA

Stratospheric Observatory For Infrared Astronomy

Jon Morse / Ray Taylor NASA Program Executive
May 11, 2007

1

Outline of Material

• • • • •

Overview of SOFIA Progress to Date Science Operations Plans Schedule

2

OVERVIEW

3

Overview of SOFIA
• SOFIA is 2.5 m telescope in a modified B747-SP aircraft
– Optical-mm performance – Obscured IR (30-300 µm) most important

Operating altitude
– 39,000 to 45,000 feet (12 to 14 km) – Above > 99% of obscuring water vapor

• •

Joint Program between the US (80%) and Germany (20%) First Light Science 2009 (NASA, DLR, USRA, DSI)
– – – – Designed for 20 year lifetime Deployments Ramp up to goal of 120 flights per year of 8 to 10 Hours Build on KAO Heritage

• •

Science flights to originate from NASA Dryden Flight Research Center (DFRC)
– DFRC is where many other NASA research aircraft are located

Science Center is located at NASA Ames Research Center

4

5

PROGRESS TO DATE

6

Telescope Installed

7

Main Deck, Looking Aft at Instrument Interface Orange Color is Flight Test Instrumentation Telescope Pointing Control Electronics to the Left

8

Instrument Interface Blue is DLR Supplied Equipment White is New Pressure Bulkhead

9

First Flight (April 2007) Waco, TX

10

SOFIA’s Instrument Complement
As an airborne mission, SOFIA supports a unique, expandable instrument suite
• SOFIA covers the full IR range with imagers and low, moderate, and high resolution spectrographs • 4 instruments at Initial Operations; 9 instruments at Final Operations. • SOFIA can take fully advantage of improvements in instrument technology • Both Facility and PI Instruments • Germany is supplying two of the generation instruments (GREAT & FIFILS)

11

Three of Seven U.S. Instruments One of Two German Instruments

Working/complete HIPO instrument in Waco on SOFIA during Aug 2004 Working/complete FLITECAM instrument at Lick in 2004/5

Working FORCAST instrument at Palomar in 2005 Successful lab demonstration of GREAT in July 2005

12

First Light Tracking: <0.8 arcsec rms from ground

Tracker in centroid inertial tracking mode
(September 2004)
550

540

530 Series1 520

510

500 550

560

570

580

590

600

13

SCIENCE

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Science Capabilities
• Because of large aperture and better detectors, sensitivity for imaging and spectroscopy similar to the space observatory ISO • 8x8 arcmin Field of View allows use of very large detector arrays • Image size is diffraction-limited beyond 25 µm, making it 3 times sharper than the space observatory Spitzer at these wavelengths

15

Astrochemistry
• • Most molecular lines in IR or submillimeter Need high spectral resolution throughout IR and submillimeter As sensitive as CSO, but complete wavelength range is accessible (ie. H2, C2H2,CH4 only in IR) Light molecules: Hydrogen, water, other hydrides in IR and submillimeter HD at 112 microns The fullerene, C60, has 4 IR lines in SOFIA’s bands

CSO FTS Spectrum of ORION OMC1

• •

Serabyn and Weisstein 1995

16

Occultation astronomy with SOFIA
SOFIA will measure stellar occultations
Pluto occultation lightcurve observed on the KAO (1984) probes the atmosphere

• SOFIA can fly anywhere on the Earth, allowing it to position itself under the shadow of an occulting object • Occultation studies with SOFIA will probe the sizes, atmospheres, and possible satellites of Kuiper belt objects and newly discovered planet-like objects in the outer Solar system. The unique mobility of SOFIA opens up some hundred events per year for study compared to a handful for a fixed observatory. • SOFIA’s mobility also enables study of comets, supernovae and other serendipitous objects

17

Feeding the Black Hole in the Center of the Galaxy
One of the major discoveries of the KAO was a ring of dust and gas orbiting the very center of the Galaxy Astronomers at ESO and Keck detected fast moving stars revealing a 4 x 106 solar mass black hole at the Galactic Center

• •

The ring of dust and gas will fall into the black hole SOFIA’s angular resolution and spectrometers will tell us:
– How much matter gets fed into the black hole? – How much energy is released? – What is the relationship to high energy active galactic nuclei?

18

Evolution of the Universe
SOFIA will study the deuterium abundance in the galaxy, investigating the evolution of the universe
Atmospheric transmission around the HD line at 40,000 feet

Deuterium in the universe is created in the Big Bang and the primordial deuterium abundance provides the best constraints on the mass density of baryons in the universe. However, this Big Bang record is subsequently modified by stellar nuclear burning as material cycles from stars to the interstellar medium and back to stars.
Only the high resolution spectrograph on SOFIA can measure the deuterium abundance throughout our galaxy and answer: • What is the abundance of deuterium and how does it vary with the local star formation rate in galaxies? • What does that tell us about the Big Bang and about the star formation history of galaxies? • As pointed out by Bergin, Hollenbach and others, HD can also give the Molecular Hydrogen abundance. NASA strategic sub-goal 3D.1 and 3D.2

19

Operations Plans

20

SOFIA Operations Drivers
• • • • • • • • Frequent Flights: Ramp Up to 960 science hours/year (2x KAO) World wide deployments especially to the Southern Hemisphere will be scheduled as required by science Both Facility and PI Instruments Facility Instruments: Good tools, Data Pipelines and Archive - easy for non-IR astronomer to obtain good data (New for Airborne Astronomy with SOFIA) PI Instruments: State of the art and innovative General Investigator program for both FSI and PI, with funded research Robust Instrument program to allow Observatory to “reinvent itself” every few years Unique Education and Public Outreach program

21

SOFIA Science Operations
• • • • SOFIA will be operated as an observatory open to the whole science community through peer review Ramp Up to 3 flights a week for ~40 weeks per year On-going independent review of SOFIA science operations
– Gary Melnick, Chair

Flights will be primarily out of Dryden (Edwards AFB) with occasional deployments to the southern hemisphere and other sites as needed
– Continuous access of science and mission staff to airplane – Preflight instrument simulator facilities (testing and alignment) for mission preparation – Instrument laboratories including cryogen facilities – Rapid instrument exchange

Science center will be at Ames
– – – – – – Telescope time peer review Observing time schedule Flight planning Management of Instruments (Operations and Development) Science Data Archive(Facility Instruments Reduced data, PI raw data) Observing Support

22

Schedule

23

SOFIA Schedule (Major Milestones)
Completed • First Re-Flight Upcoming • Ferry Flight to DFRC • Initiate Closed Door Flight Tests • Complete Closed Door Flight Tests • Install Door Drive (and other work) • Initiate Open Door Flight Tests • First Science

April ‘07

June ‘07 Fall ‘08 Summer ‘08 Fall/Winter ‘08 Spring ‘09 ‘09

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FY08 Budget Request

SOFIA

FY08

FY09

FY10

FY11

FY12

Total

77.3

89.1

88.6

89.9

92.1

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Summary

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- Aircraft structural modifications complete - Telescope installed, several instruments tested on ground observatories - Several subsystems to be installed (e.g., door drive) - Completed first flight, leading to ferry flight in June ‘07 to DFRC - Full envelope flight testing (closed door) to start in Fall ’08 - First science in ’09 - SOFIA will be one of the primary facilities for far-IR and sub-millimeter astronomy for many years

Back-up

27

SOFIA and Spitzer

• SOFIA will become operational near the time that Spitzer runs out of cryogens. The science impact of not being contemporary is small: Spitzer is a high sensitivity imaging and low resolution spectroscopy mission. SOFIA is a high spectral and high angular resolution mission • As it now stands, the two observatories are very complementary and when Spitzer runs out of cryogens in early FY09, SOFIA will be the only observatory working in the 25 to 60 micron region for over 10 years: Comets, Supernovae, Variable AGN, other discoveries.

28

SOFIA and Herschel
• Herschel and SOFIA will now start at about the same time • Joint calibration work is on going • For the years of overlap, SOFIA will be only program
– with 25 to 60 micron capability – with high resolution spectroscopy in the 60 to 150 micron region

• When cryogens run out in Herschel in ~2011 SOFIA will be only NASA mission in 25 to 600 micron region for many years
– Important follow-up – Advanced instrumentation will give unique capabilities to SOFIA: Polarization, Heterodyne Arrays, Heterodyne Spectroscopy at 28 microns (ground state of molecular hydrogen), and other interesting astrophysics lines

• Both missions are critically important and complementary

29

SOFIA and JWST

• SOFIA is very complementary to JWST • Before JWST is deployed and after Spitzer cryogens run out , SOFIA is only mission with 5 to 8 micron capabilities
– important organic signatures

• After JWST is launched SOFIA is the only mission to give complementary observation beyond 28 microns and high resolution spectroscopy in 5 to 28 micron region

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Why SOFIA?
• • • Atmosphere: above 99% of the water vapor IR transmission at 14 km >80% from 1 to 800 µm Instrumentation: wide variety, rapidly interchangeable, state-ofthe art Mobility: anywhere, anytime Long lifetime A near-space observatory that comes home after every flight

• • •

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NEXT CALL FOR NEW INSTRUMENTS

• • • •

The next call for instruments will be at first Science ~FY10 There will be additional calls every 3 years There will be one new instrument or upgrade per year Approximate funding for new instruments $8 M/yr

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Infrared Space Observatories
1000 0.3

Herschel

SAFIR

?
equency (THz)
3 30 2025

100

SOFIA
JWST

SPITZER

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Wavelength (µm
10 1
Ground-based Observatories

2005

2010

2015

2020

SOFIA provides temporal continuity and wide spectral coverage, complementing other infrared observatories.

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