NASA’s SOFIA airborne observatory takes flight – an annotated graphic

Well, would you look at this – a flying observatory. Cool! NASA’s latest science wheeze is the Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy – or SOFIA to her friends.

A 15-tonne telescope mounted on a jumbo jet, this joint US-German venture (there are two countries you might not immediately put together) is beginning its first full cycle of science  flights. Question: how do stars form and evolve? No problem – SOFIA’s on it.

Click on the graphic for an expanded view.

SOFIA telescope takes flight
SOFIA telescope takes flight

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