Feature

SOFIA Featured in UT-Arlington Planetarium Show
11.25.09
 
SOFIA's 747SP sits under a canopy of stars outside NASA's Dryden Aircraft Operations Facility in Palmdale, Calif The Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA) 747SP sits under a canopy of stars outside NASA's Dryden Aircraft Operations Facility in Palmdale, Calif. during nighttime testing of its German-built telescope assembly. (NASA Photo/Tom Tschida) A new show featuring NASA's Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy, or SOFIA, began showing at the newly upgraded planetarium at the University of Texas campus in Arlington, Texas in October. which is housed aboard a modified Boeing 747SP long-range jetliner. Scheduled to begin initial operations in 2010, SOFIA’s 2.5-meter (100-inch) telescope will scan the universe from the 747 platform as it cruises at altitudes of 39,000 to 45,000 feet.

SOFIA will fly above 99 percent of the water vapor in the lower atmosphere that restricts the capabilities of ground-based observatories over most of the infrared and sub-millimeter spectral range.

The SOFIA show utilizes the planetarium's new Digistar 4 system, a digital light-processing system that greatly improves the clarity of images, including video imagery.

The Planetarium at UT-Arlington is in the Chemistry Physics Building, 700 Planetarium Place. For information and showtimes on Unseen Universe: The Vision of SOFIA, go to www.uta.edu/planetarium or call 817-272-0123.

The Universities Space Research Association's SOFIA Education and Public Outreach program paid for part of the planetarium show's production cost, and the show includes video from SOFIA's first test flight in April 2007.

Several of SOFIA's astronomical instrument scientists are on the professional staff at the University of Texas.