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NASA Video Chat: The Science Behind SOFIA
Pamela Marcum SOFIA Project Scientist Pamela Marcum

Visible light (left) and infrared (right) images of the constellation Orion. The visible light (left) and infrared (right) images of the constellation Orion shown here are of the exact same area. These images dramatically illustrate how features that cannot be seen in visible light show up very brightly in the infrared.
(Credits: Visible light image: Akira Fujii; Infrared image: Infrared Astronomical Satellite )

SOFIA in flight with open telescope door With the sliding door over its 17-ton infrared telescope wide open, SOFIA soars over California's snow-covered Southern Sierras on a test flight.
Image credit: NASA/Jim Ross
Join Pamela Marcum, project scientist for NASA’s Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA) mission, in an online video chat on May 12, at 1 p.m. EDT. Marcum will answer your questions about viewing the universe at infrared wavelengths, the first science flights of the 747SP observatory as well as plans for future science flights.
  • What can be learned through infrared astronomy?
  • What challenges are involved in getting infrared data?
  • What is the difference between SOFIA and Hubble research?
  • What are SOFIA’s advantages over other kinds of observatories?
  • How many hours of science observations is SOFIA expected to make each year?
  • Will the archive of science data be available to the astronomical community, and more generally to the public?
To join the chat, visit on May 12.

See you in chat!

More About Pamela Marcum
Marcum studies galaxy evolution and worked on the first extensive ultraviolet imaging of nearby galaxies. She was previously a program scientist for the WISE and Kepler missions.

Read her complete bio.

More About SOFIA
SOFIA is NASA’s next generation airborne observatory and is a joint venture of NASA and the German Aerospace Center. NASA supplied the aircraft and the telescope was built in Germany. NASA’s Dryden Flight Research Center manages the SOFIA program. NASA's Ames Research Center at Moffett Field, Calif., manages SOFIA's scientific program. The Universities Space Research Association, in Columbia, Md., and the German SOFIA Institute in Stuttgart, Germany, operate SOFIA's scientific program. SOFIA is based and managed at NASA's Dryden Aircraft Operations Facility in Palmdale, Calif.