SOFIA - Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy is a 747sp Boeing aircraft modified to carry a 2.7m telescope. This unique aircraft uses infrared light to study the hidden universe, create a greater understanding of local galaxies and observe the past of our universe. To enhance the effectiveness of the telescope on SOFIA, a baseline of an ideal science instrument needs to be established in a lab setting to help reduce time and make things more efficient when SOFIA is flying. This baseline can be done using the TAAS – Telescope Assembly Alignment Simulator, an instrument that simulates the telescope on SOFIA. In this project, the research team uses the Focus Chop Light Source (FCLS) instrument to mimic a blackbody source on the TAAS. There are 6 different sized aperture holes on the FCLS. These sizes represent different magnitudes of starlight. Optimization of the light path for the TAAS is needed to ensure an ideal baseline.


Physical Sciences and Mathematics



Lab site

NASA Armstrong (Formerly Dryden) Flight Research Center

Funding Acknowledgement

This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation through the Robert Noyce Teacher Scholarship Program under grant# 1546150. Any opinions, finding, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation. The research was made possible by the California State University STEM Teacher Researcher Program in partnership with the SOFIA project.



URL: http://digitalcommons.calpoly.edu/star/417


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