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April 10, 2011


Last Wednesday, April 6th, the “Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy, or SOFIA, completed its first science flight”. SOFIA used an instrument called GREAT (German Receiver for Astronomy at Terahertz Frequencies) to sort light into colors so that they could be analyzed. GREAT uses infrared radiation to get this data. Similar to how we did in a previous lab, the scientists analyzing these colors are using the information to try to figure out the “physical processes and chemical conditions in the stellar nurserie.” Basically, this whole process will give new insight to people about how stars are formed, ultimately telling us something about our universe. It is also very interesting to know that this is a project that NASA is collaborating on with the German Aerospace Center.


Posted by ninagav at April 10, 2011 09:31 PM


Wow this technology seems crazy! "Among their targets were IC 342, a spiral galaxy located 11 million light-years from Earth in the constellation Camelopardalis ("The Giraffe")" I can't imagine being able to divide light into colors using a infrared spectrometer for something 11 million light years away. It should be helpful in learning how stars are formed, but this thing seems awesome regardless.

Posted by: scottymg at April 11, 2011 12:07 AM

I think that it is very interesting and important that this instrument will allow us to understand more about how stars are formed because it will give us a better understanding of our Sun and the universe that surrounds us. I also think that it's good that NASA is partnering with Germany on this project because it may suggest that the two countries will work together in the future on other missions to gain a greater understanding of our universe.

Posted by: rmousigi at April 11, 2011 07:53 PM

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