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    Moorpark: Learn About SOFIA ~ Astronomy VCAS Monthly Meeting

    when: Friday, physician February 20, 2015
    7:15 pm
    where: Moopark College Forum
    what: Abstract:
    The joint U.S. and German Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA) to develop and operate a 2.5-meter infrared airborne telescope in a Boeing 747SP, has been equipped with first-in-science 6 optical and infrared instruments.

    An overview of the observatory, telescope and performance will be presented. The operation of the FORCAST 5 to 40 micron camera, the GREAT heterodyne spectrometer in the 110 to 240 micron region, the HIPO occultation visible photometer and the FLITECAM 1to 5 micron camera, the FIFI far IR spectrometer and EXES the 5 to 28 micron Spectrometer will be mentioned.

    The first science infrared images and spectra reveal several discoveries and show the potential for determining how massive stars form in our Galaxy.

    A very successful occultation of Pluto with HIPO will be described. Future plans and upgrades will briefly be discussed.

    Presently, Dr. Becklin is the Chief Science Advisor on SOFIA the Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy and leader of science activities. He works to see that the observatory science goals are met and to ensure that the design, implementation, and operation of the observatory – including its telescope and instruments – will meet these goals. He reviews the expected performance for the 2.5 m telescope, and the ongoing development of the suite of instruments. First science results with SOFIA were published in 2012 and the observatory will operate for 20 years.

    His research has focused on studies of our galactic center and its massive black hole, dust debris clouds, galactic nuclei, gamma-ray bursts, astrobiology, studies of the formation of massive stars and the search for low mass stars, brown dwarfs and extra-solar planets.

    Becklin is an emeritus professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at UCLA.


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