Astronomy from a Stratosphere: Results from NASA’s SOFIA Airborne Telescope

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Astronomers from NASA’s Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy, SOFIA, Northwestern University, and a University of Maryland were on palm during a 231st assembly of a American Astronomical Society in Washington, D.C., to plead new systematic formula describing how their studies of dirt pellet polarization and astronomical captivating fields are heading to a improved bargain of star formation, theories about how gas cools in a interstellar medium, and how captivating fields are formulating stellar winds around black holes.

Left: NASA Spitzer picture display a apportionment of a Rho Oph dim cloud celebrated with HAWC+ instrument. Right: HAWC+ picture display systematic variations of a far-infrared polarization spectrum in a interstellar cloud.
Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Harvard-Smithsonian CfA. SOFIA/ HAWC+/ Northwestern University /F. Pereira Santos

The scholarship formula were performed regulating SOFIA, a rarely mutated Boeing 747SP jetliner propitious with a 100-inch (2.5-meter) infrared telescope. SOFIA is an general partnership between NASA and a German Aerospace Center (DLR).

The drifting look-out has a apartment of 7 opposite instruments – cameras and spectrometers – that are flown into a stratosphere to altitudes as high as 45,000 feet (13.7 km) on missions adult to 10 hours in duration. This altitude puts a look-out above some-more than 99 percent of a Earth’s H2O fog that blocks infrared wavelengths from reaching a ground. SOFIA’s ability to investigate mid- and far-infrared wavelengths (28-320 microns) provides information that can't be performed by any other stream astronomical trickery on a belligerent or in space, including those now underneath development.

“SOFIA’s singular apartment of instruments provides researchers with a ability to benefit new insights into a infrared universe,” pronounced Kimberly Ennico Smith, SOFIA plan scientist during NASA Ames Research Center in Mountain View, California. “We are now saying formula from a many new instrument to come on line, a new High-resolution Airborne Wideband Camera (HAWC+), as good as a upgraded German Receiver for Astronomy during Terahertz Frequencies (GREAT/upGREAT). These collection are expanding a believe about how stars form, a impact of captivating fields on these processes, and a chemical compounds that are a tender element for new stars.”

The left picture shows a large-scale captivating margin along a frigid instruction of a hoop of a starburst universe M82. The HAWC+ imaging polarimetric observations show, for a initial time, a comparatively prohibited dirt magnetically aligned along a instruction of a outflows. The right picture shows a multi-wavelength perspective of a galaxy, with a blue cat-scan divulgence gas that has been exhilarated by a aroused outflow.
Credits: Left: SOFIA/HAWC+/E. Lopez-Rodriguez Right: X-ray: NASA/CXC/JHU/D.Strickland; Optical: NASA/ESA/STScI/AURA/The Hubble Heritage Team; IR: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Univ. of AZ/C. Engelbracht

B-G Andersson • USRA/SOFIA
SOFIA/HAWC+ Polarization in a Envelope IRC+10216
Astronomers assume that a polarization maps that we observe with instruments, such as HAWC+, snippet captivating fields in space. To know a polarization in detail, astronomers need to know that grains minister to a polarization, that do not, and underneath what conditions. One theory about how these grains act is famous as a Radiative Alignment Torque (RAT) theory. Andersson presented a formula of dual new tests ancillary a RAT theory.

Fabio Santos • Northwestern University

HAWC+/SOFIA Observations of Rho Oph A: Far-Infrared Polarization Spectrum Scientists have celebrated one of a closest star-forming regions to a Solar System, famous as Rho Ophiuchi, located approximately 424 light-years away. In a executive tools of a cloud, famous as Rho Oph A, several immature stars are now being formed, some of that will substantially turn stars with heavenly systems most like a Sun. With HAWC+, researchers during Northwestern University have celebrated for a initial time that systematic variations of a far-infrared polarization spectrum exist within an interstellar cloud.

Enrique Lopez-Rodriguez • USRA/SOFIA
A Far-Infrared View of Active Galactic Nuclei with SOFIA/HAWC+
HAWC+ has non-stop a new window to try active galactic nuclei (AGN) and starburst galaxies, providing a best bony fortitude and polarimetric capability within a 50-220 micron range. Lopez-Rodriguez presented rough formula of AGN and starburst galaxies celebrated with a far-infrared polarimeter HAWC+ onboard SOFIA. These observations of NGC 1068 during 53 microns have shown, for a initial time, a magnetized arm along a turn middle arm of a galaxy.

Elizabeth Tarantino • University of Maryland – College Park
Characterizing a Multi-Phase Origin of a [CII] Emission in M101 and NGC 6946 with GREAT
The interstellar middle (ISM) found between stars is a building retard from that destiny stars will form. A common resource to cold down a gas in a ISM is by deviation from simply ionized carbon. Ionized CO deviation can arise from 3 phases of a ISM: molecular gas, atomic gas, and ionized gas. Unraveling that proviso a ionized CO glimmer comes from and how it is contingent on sourroundings is essential for bargain a initial stages of star formation. This subdivision is improved finished with a GREAT instrument on SOFIA, that has a singular capability to magnitude a far-IR ionized CO line during high bright resolution.

“SOFIA’s apartment of new and upgraded instruments are now providing a astronomical village with rare attraction and spatial fortitude during mid- and far-infrared wavelengths,” pronounced USRA’s Director of SOFIA Science Mission Operations Harold “Hal” Yorke. “We can now try a far-reaching operation of scholarship questions that can't be examined anywhere else in a world.”

SOFIA is a corner plan of NASA and a German Aerospace Center, DLR. NASA’s Ames Research Center in California’s Silicon Valley manages a SOFIA program, scholarship and goal operations in team-work with a Universities Space Research Association headquartered in Columbia, Maryland, and a German SOFIA Institute (DSI) during a University of Stuttgart. The aircraft is formed during NASA’s Armstrong Flight Research Center‘s trickery in Palmdale, California.

Source: NASA

 

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