After months of calibration and testing, NASA's flying telescope made its first excursion this morning, and the space agency is looking forward to analyzing the results. But, um, isn't this sort of blurry?
The above image is a snapshot of the Orion nebula, taken with a special camera optimized for mid-infrared light. No telescope on the ground or in space can make observations in that range, so although this picture is a little fuzzy, it's actually full of useful information, according to NASA.
NASA, which operates Sofia in partnership with the German space agency DLR, said the science flight validates Sofia's capabilities. Sofia flies above 99 percent of the atmosphere's water vapor, which allows it to receive about 80 percent of the infrared light visible to the orbiting observatories. It can see light ranging from ultraviolet to the far infrared.
NASA says the image is a composite of two IR filters and reveals detailed structures in the star-forming clouds, and heat radiating from a cluster of newborn stars at the upper right. We'll have to take NASA's word for it.
How much money was spent on this and why?
Haha solid question. Im wondering why space telescopes couldn't do this?
@Bushmaster6.8: "How much money was spent on this and why?" yeah. science is dumb. uuuuggggg!
Yeah we should just point a telescope at Bushmater6.8, plenty of hot air there.
"No telescope on the ground or in space can make observations in that range..."
I agree w/ bws28. I little more information on why this is the only telescope that can detect that range might make this article a lot more intersting.
Per the link right after that sentence "This infrared image of the heart of the Orion star-formation complex was taken from the Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA) using the FORCAST mid-infrared camera (P.I. Terry Herter, Cornell University). SOFIA is optimized for observations at infrared wavelengths that cannot be accessed by any telescope on the ground or currently in space."
I'm sure there was an attempt to contact someone in the SOFIA project to obtain more information but for reading these articles for free it's hard to complain.
I would imagine we just haven’t put one up in space yet that operates in the range this one does. It's not that we can't, it's that there isn't one. Which do you think if cheaper? A plane flight or launching a satellite?
Also, this way things can be adjusted easily between flights, maybe even during flight. How easy is it to adjust the mirror on the Hubble? Oh yea, real freakin hard.