Centrum Astronomii

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Specjalne seminarium astrofizyczne


9 maja 2018 o godzinie 11:15 w sali audytoryjnej COK w budynku Instytutu Fizyki UMK prof. Hans Zinnecker (Deutsches SOFIA Institut, University of Stuttgart, Germany oraz Universidad Autonoma de Chile, Santiago, Chile) wygłosi wykład pt.: "Airborne infrared astronomy with SOFIA".


SOFIA, short for Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy, is a 2.7m telescope flying on a Boeing 747SP at altitudes of 12-14km, to detect and study mid- and far-infrared radiation that is blocked by water vapor in the earth's atmosphere and cannot reach the ground. It is currently the only platform for astronomical observations in the far-infrared (30-300 microns), except for balloon-borne telescopes. The far-infrared is the key wavelength regime for studying the energy balance in the interstellar medium (heating and cooling of interstellar gas and dust) and the processes in cold dense gas clouds related to star formation (collapse, outflows, etc). About half of the total luminosity in the universe emerges in the far-infrared.

Although a bilateral project (80:20) between USA (NASA/USRA) and Germany (DLR/DSI), SOFIA is open for proposals from the world-wide astronomical community at large. It addresses many science questions that ESA's successful but now extinct Herschel Observatory (far-infrared satellite 2009-2013) has left unanswered and offers observational opportunities similar to and beyond Herschel. SOFIA also has many synergies with large ground-based mm and submm telescopes and telescope arrays, such as ALMA in Chile or NOEMA in France. The mobility of SOFIA (to fly anywhere anytime on the planet) uniquely allows to observe occultation events by solar system objects, such as Pluto.

In my presentation, I will describe a glimpse of SOFIA science highlights and discoveries in its first few years of operation (since 2012), including observations of star formation (gravitational contraction of protocluster clouds) and of our Galactic Center (the circumnuclear disk around the black hole), both in far-infrared lines and continuum. SOFIA spectroscopic observations of interstellar cloud dynamics using rotational transitions in key molecular lines (NH3, H20, H2) with high spectral resolution will be described, as well as the diagnostics of the surface cooling of UV-illuminated clouds through the very strong [OI] (63mu) and [CII] (158mu) fine structure lines. Time permitting, I will also discuss the latest new instrumentation (enabling far-infrared polarimetry and cloud magnetic field observations).

SOFIA normally flies out of California, but once a year also deploys to the Southern Hemisphere (usually to Christchurch, New Zealand), benefitting from the excellent wintertime stratospheric conditions to study the interstellar medium and the cold star forming universe in the rich southern skies.

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