Observations of Exoplanets with the Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA)


Robert Gehrz (1) and Eric Becklin (2)


(1) University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN, United States; (2) Universities Space Research Association, Moffett Field, CA, United States


The joint U.S. and German Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA) is a 2.5-meter infrared airborne telescope in a Boeing 747-SP that will begin science flights in 2010. Flying in the stratosphere at altitudes as high as 45,000 feet, SOFIA will be used to conduct photometric, spectroscopic, and imaging observations at wavelengths from 0.3 microns to 1.9 millimeters with an average transmission of greater than 80 percent. SOFIA’s first-generation instrument complement includes high speed photometers, broadband imagers, moderate resolution spectrographs capable of resolving broad features due to dust and large molecules, and high resolution spectrometers suitable for kinematic studies of molecular and atomic gas lines at km/s resolution. These and future instruments will give SOFIA the potential to make unique contributions to the characterization of the atmospheres of exoplanets that transit their parent stars. First-light images obtained on May 26, 2010 with the FORCAST imager will be shown. We will discuss several types of experiments that are being contemplated with respect to observations of exoplanets .

Attached documents

Lyot2010proc s7 talk GehrzR.pdf
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