SOFIA was a 2.7 meter infrared telescope in a Boeing 747 SP. It was a US-German project; NASA provided the aircraft, and the German aerospace center, DLR, provided the telescope. The airborne observatory allowed us to study the cold universe using infrared light, which is inaccessible from the ground. This presentation will cover why SOFIA was needed, how it operated, and the scientific high-lights so far. The legacy of SOFIA continues in its data archive, while the aircraft itself will become accessible at the Pima Air and Space Museum.
Refreshments (pizza or sandwiches, plus drinks) will be served at the presentation.
More info and registration: https://aiaa-sf.org/event/tech-talk-sofia/
Dr. Randolf Klein received his PhD in astrophysics from the Friedrich Schiller University in Jena, Germany. As postdoctoral researcher, he joined a team in Germany developing a far infrared spectrometer for SOFIA. The decade-long development effort brought him via UC Berkeley to the SOFIA Science Center at NASA Ames, where Dr. Klein worked in various roles in science operations and outreach for SOFIA. That included frequently flying with SOFIA executing its observing program.
Ken Bower is a Silicon Valley research engineer with a curious educational path which has led him to support physics and astrophysics projects at NASA and Stanford University. He built and integrated systems of Gravity Probe-B: The Relativity Mission before joining SOFIA to coat its primary mirror and then plan many of its missions, occasionally serving as the last-ditch back-up Mission Director. He enjoys presenting scientific topics to non-technical audiences of all ages and backgrounds.