From SOFIA: “One-of-a-Kind Camera Added to SOFIA”

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NASA SOFIA

SOFIA (Stratospheric Observatory For Infrared Astronomy)

April 26, 2016

Media contact: Kassandra Bell
SOFIA Science Center, NASA’s Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, Calif.

NASA SOFIA High-resolution Airborne Wideband Camera-Plus HAWC+ Camera
NASA SOFIA High-resolution Airborne Wideband Camera-Plus HAWC+ Camera

The newest instrument, an infrared camera called the High-resolution Airborne Wideband Camera-Plus (HAWC+), was installed on the Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy, SOFIA, this week. This is the only currently operating astronomical camera that makes images using far-infrared light, allowing studies of low-temperature early stages of star and planet formation. HAWC+ includes a polarimeter, a device that measures the alignment of incoming light waves. With the polarimeter, HAWC+ can map magnetic fields in star forming regions and in the environment around the supermassive black hole at the center of the Milky Way galaxy.

Sag A* NASA&'s Chandra X-Ray Observatory 23 July 2014, the supermassive black hole at the center of the Milky Way
Sag A* NASA’s Chandra X-Ray Observatory 23 July 2014, the supermassive black hole at the center of the Milky Way

These new maps can reveal how the strength and direction of magnetic fields affect the rate at which interstellar clouds condense to form new stars. A team led by C. Darren Dowell at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory and including participants from more than a dozen institutions developed the instrument.

See the full article here .

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SOFIA is a joint project of NASA and the German Aerospace Center (DLR). The aircraft is based at and the program is managed from NASA Armstrong Flight Research Center’s facility in Palmdale, California. NASA’s Ames Research Center, manages the SOFIA science and mission operations in cooperation with the Universities Space Research Association (USRA) headquartered in Columbia, Maryland, and the German SOFIA Institute (DSI) at the University of Stuttgart.

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