Photos from SOFIA, NASA's Flying Telescope (Gallery)

Close-up of SOFIA Instruments

Mike Wall

A close-up of two SOFIA science instruments, FLITECAM and HIPO, which are connected to the telescope on the other side of the bulkhead. Science instruments can be removed and swapped out between flights; the plane usually flies with just one instrument aboard.

SOFIA Telescope During Testing

NASA/Tom Tschida

This NASA image shows the SOFIA telescope during testing procedures in May 2010, before the instrument's first science flight.

SOFIA Telescope Planet Occultation Camera

NASA / Tom Tschida

Visitors are briefed on the operation of the telescope simulator with the High-Speed Imaging Photometer for Occultations, or HIPO, instrument attached during the SOFIA science and education media day on June 8, 2011 at the Dryden Aircraft Operations Facility in Palmdale, Calif.

W40 Star-Forming Region SOFIA Observation

NASA / DLR / USRA / DSI / R. Shuping & W. Vacca / FORCAST team

Mid-infrared image of the W40 star-forming region captured with the FORCAST camera. (Blue = 5.4 microns, Green = 24.2 microns, Red = 34.8 microns). This image from NASA's Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy, or SOFIA, provides the highest resolution mid-infrared image taken to-date of the massive star formation region in our galaxy known as W40. This image was released Nov. 21, 2011.

Planetary Nebula M2-9 SOFIA Observation

NASA / DLR / USRA / DSI / FORCAST team / M. Werner

SOFIA images of planetary nebula M2-9 in six different bands (wavelengths indicated on the figures) made using the FORCAST mid-infrared camera (Principal Investigator Terry Herter, Cornell University). The images have been smoothed to emphasize diffuse emission.

Planetary Nebula M2-9 SOFIA View

NASA / DLR / USRA / DSI / FORCAST team / M. Werner et al. / A. Helton, J. Rho

The observations were made using the Faint Object Infrared Camera for the SOFIA Telescope (FORCAST) instrument, and is composed of images obtained at the mid-infrared wavelengths of 20, 24, and 37 microns, of which 37 microns cannot be seen by ground-based telescopes.

SOFIA Crew View of Aurora Australis

NASA / Carla Thomas

The aurora australis, or southern lights, was observed by the flight crew and science team members aboard the SOFIA flying observatory during the July 2013 mission to study celestial objects visible in the Southern Hemisphere. The aurora australis is the southern hemisphere counterpart to the aurora borealis in the Northern Hemisphere. This image was released July 18, 2013.

SOFIA 747SP Taxis

NASA / Carla Thomas

The SOFIA 747SP taxis in to the Christchurch International Airport terminal in New Zealand on July 18, 2013, on its first Southern Hemisphere deployment. The location allowed missions that took advantage of the Southern Hemisphere's orientation to study celestial objects that are difficult to see in the northern sky. This image was released July 18, 2013.

Looking out of SOFIA's Window

Mike Wall

A view out one of SOFIA's windows, along the port (left) side of the aircraft near the wing.

SOFIA's Science Instruments

Mike Wall

A view looking tailward through the cabin of NASA's SOFIA flying observatory. At the back, two science instruments jut from a bulkhead. The instruments are attached to SOFIA's 17-ton telescope, which sits on the other side of the bulkhead.

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