SOFIA Has Gone South: Airborne Observatory Investigates The Southern Sky From New Zealand
For the first time SOFIA, the “Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy”, has been deployed to the southern hemisphere. Based at the airport of Christchurch, New Zealand for three weeks, SOFIA has started to study celestial objects that are uniquely observable on southern flight routes. On the morning of July 18 New Zealand time, SOFIA landed after the first of its planned 9 science flights that included studies of the Magellanic Clouds, neighbours to the Milky Way galaxy, and of the circumnuclear disk orbiting the black hole in the center of our Galaxy. The GREAT instrument used in these flights has been developed by a consortium of German research institutes led by Rolf Güsten (Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy).