SOFIA airborne observatory aircraft

SOFIA airborne observatory aircraft

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Credit: DETLEV VAN RAVENSWAAY/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: SOFIA airborne observatory aircraft. SOFIA is the Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy. It is a 2.5-metre infrared telescope that is flown in its 747SP aircraft to the stratosphere, some 10-50 kilometres above sea level. This allows the detection of infrared light that is normally blocked by water vapour lower in the atmosphere. SOFIA was jointly developed from 1996 by NASA and the German Aerospace Center (DLR). The first observations took place in May 2010. Photographed on 17 September 2011, at Cologne Bonn Airport, following SOFIA's first Trans-Atlantic flight. Cologne is the location of the DLR headquarters.

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