Skip to main content

SOFIA – an amazing opportunity for Mr Smallman!

On Monday 25th June, Jason Smallman, from the Science Department was lucky enough to visit NASA’s SOFIA Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy. The plane is fitted with a giant gyro-stabilised highly-sensitive 2.7m-diameter telescope that peeks out of the plane once it reaches an altitude of 10.6k.SOFIA is currently in Christchurch to study celestial objects that are best viewed from the Southern Hemisphere, and while here in NZ is based at the National Science Foundation (NSF)’s U.S. Antarctic Program facility at Christchurch International Airport.Observations for this mission include targets that are too low to observe or not visible at all from the Northern Hemisphere — including the Large Magellanic Cloud, the centre of the Milky Way galaxy, and Saturn’s moon Titan. Read more about SOFIA’s planned observations: