University of Texas at Austin

Posts Tagged ‘Sharpless 140’


Monday, January 24, 2011

The view from an airborne observatory

NASA's SOFIA observatory flies over the desert north of Edwards Air Force Base, Calif., on a test flight.

NASA’s SOFIA observatory flies over the desert north of Edwards Air Force Base, Calif., on a test flight.

University of Texas at Austin Astronomer Paul Harvey had a seat on one of the first flights of NASA’s new airborne observatory, SOFIA.

That acronym stands for Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy.

The observatory is a Boeing 747-SP aircraft equipped with a 100-inch diameter telescope. It flies at 40,000 feet or so to get above absorption from the water vapor in the atmosphere.

“You get the
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