Science results
Spotlight Image
Disruption of a Planetary System

by Jonathan Marshall & Joan Schmelz

Paper: Evidence for the Disruption of a Planetary System During the Formation of the Helix Nebula
Marshall, Jonathan P., et al., 2023/01, AJ, 165, 22.

The spectral energy distribution of WD 2226-210 superposed on an image of the Helix Nebula from Hubble Space Telescope.
The Abundance Discrepancy Factor in Markarian 71

by Yuguang Chen & Joan Schmelz

Paper: Accurate Oxygen Abundance of Interstellar Gas in Mrk 71 from Optical and Infrared Spectra
Chen, Yuguang, et al., 2023/04, Nature Astronomy, tmp, 87.

Markarian 71 with plot overlaid
Magnetically-Structured Accretion in the Galactic Center’s Circumnuclear Disk

by Jordan Guerra and Joan Schmelz

Paper: The Strength of the Sheared Magnetic Field in the Circum-Nuclear Disk
Guerra, J.A., Lopez-Rodriguez, E., Chuss, D. Butterfield, N., Schmelz, J.T. (2023), Astrophysical Journal, submitted

The Circumnuclear Disk in the Galactic center as observed by SOFIA/HAWC+
Mapping Water on the Lunar Surface

By Bill Reach and Joan Schmelz

For the first time, SOFIA has made a detailed map of water on the surface of the Moon. Comparison with the lunar landscape shows that the water emission is strongest on the shady sides of deep craters and high mountains. Researchers used observations taken on 2022 February 17 as part of a SOFIA Legacy project intended to explore how water is distributed across the lunar surface.

Renditions of Moon region observed with SOFIA and water and continuum emissions
The SOFIA/FORCAST Galactic Center Legacy Program

by Matthew Hankins

Composite infrared image of the center of our Milky Way galaxy
The Galactic Center Magnetosphere

by Natalie Butterfield

Magnetic fields over Herschel and MeerKAT images
The SOFIA Legacy Program FEEDBACK

by Nicola Schneider, Alexander Tielens, and Anashe Bandari

Paper: FEEDBACK: a SOFIA Legacy Program to Study Stellar Feedback in Regions of Massive Star Formation
Schneider, N., et al., 2020/10, Publications of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific, 132j4301S.

Composite image of the nebula RCW 120
The SOFIA/EXES Mid-IR High Spectral Resolution Library

By José Pablo Fonfría, Ed Montiel & Joan Schmelz

Water on the Moon 2022

By Anicia Arredondo

Paper: Regional Map of Molecular Water at High Southern Latitudes on the Moon Using 6 μm Data From the Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy
C.I. Honniball, et al., Geophysical Research Letters 2022.

Magnetic Fields - A Ubiquitous Part of Galaxy Ecosystems

By Enrique Lopez-Rodriguez and Joan Schmelz

Paper: Extragalactic magnetism with SOFIA (SALSA Legacy Program) -- IV: Program overview and first results on the polarization fraction
Lopez-Rodriguez, Enrique, et al., 2022-05-00.

Collage showing 9 galaxies with streamlines from the SALSA program
Deuterated Hydroxyl as a Star Formation Tracer

By Timea Csengeri and Joan Schmelz

Paper: SOFIA/GREAT observations of OD and OH rotational lines towards high-mass star forming regions
Csengeri, T., et al., 2022/02, A&A, 658A, A193.

OD absorption spectrum over a three-color image of W49A with a plus sign on spectrum position
The Cygnus X Protostellar Luminosity Function

By Yingjie Cheng and Joan Schmelz

Paper: Completing the Protostellar Luminosity Function in Cygnus-X with SOFIA/FORCAST Imaging
Cheng, Yingjie, et al., 2022/05, MNRAS, 512, 960.

RGB images of Cygnus X sub-regions with Spitzer and SOFIA FORCAST data
Constraining Magnetic and Gravitational Energies in Star-Forming Clouds

By Dennis Lee and Joan Schmelz

Paper: HAWC+/SOFIA Polarimetry in L1688: Relative Orientation of Magnetic Field and Elongated Cloud Structure
Lee, Dennis, et al., 2021/09, ApJ, 918, 39.

Planck magnetic streamlines on a Herschel image of Rho Ophiuchi with insets from SOFIA/HAWC+
Multi-Phase [C II] Emission in Nearby Galaxies

By Elizabeth Tarantino and Joan Schmelz

Paper: Characterizing the Multiphase Origin of [C II] Emission in M101 and NGC 6946 with Velocity-resolved Spectroscopy
Tarantino, Elizabeth, et al., 2021/07, ApJ, 915, 92.

Image of M101 with pointings from SOFIA/GREAT shown as white circles and squares
Magnetically-Driven Flows in NGC 1097

By Enrique Lopez-Rodriguez and Joan Schmelz

Paper: Extragalactic Magnetism with SOFIA (Legacy Program) - II: A Magnetically Driven Flow in the Starburst Ring of NGC 1097
Lopez-Rodriguez, Enrique, et al., 2021/12, ApJ, 923, 150.

Magnetically-driven flows feed the super massive blackhole at the center of NGC 1097. SOFIA investigated this long-standing problem of the large-scale transfer of matter from the body of the host galaxy to the active nucleus.

Starburst ring of NGC 1097 with magnetic streamlines
Temperature and Density Layers in the Ghost Nebula

By Archana Soam and Joan Schmelz

Paper: Spatial Variation in Temperature and Density in the IC 63 PDR from H 2 Spectroscopy
Soam, Archana, et al., 2021/12, ApJ, 923, 107.

Three-color image of the Ghost Nebula
Role of Magnetic Fields in Cloud Destruction in the Keyhole Nebula

By Youngmin Seo and Joan Schmelz

Paper: Probing Polarization and the Role of Magnetic Fields in Cloud Destruction in the Keyhole Nebula
Seo, Young Min, et al., 2021/08, ApJ, 917, 57.

Magnetic field streamlines detected by SOFIA are shown over an image of the Keyhole Nebula
Evidence of [CII] Shocked Emission in NGC 7479

By Dario Fadda and Joan Schmelz

Paper: [C II] and CO Emission along the Bar and Counter-arms of NGC 7479
Fadda, Dario, et al., 2021/03, ApJ, 909, 204.

SOFIA observations of the barred spiral galaxy, NGC 7479, were able to separate shock-enhanced ionized carbon [CII] emission from that associated with star formation, reminding us that it is important to consider multiple mechanisms when studying the [CII] emission in galaxies with active nuclei.

Hubble Space Telescope image of NGC 7479 with 20 cm radio continuum contours
Magnetic Chaos Hidden Within the Whirlpool Galaxy

By Alejandro Borlaff and Joan Schmelz

Paper: Extragalactic Magnetism with SOFIA (Legacy Program). I. The Magnetic Field in the Multiphase Interstellar Medium of M51
Alejandro S. Borlaff et al 2021 ApJ 921 128

SOFIA magnetic field streamlines are shown over the Whirlpool galaxy
Atomic Oxygen in Earth's Upper Atmosphere

By Heinz-Wilhelm Hübers and Joan Schmelz

Paper: Direct measurements of atomic oxygen in the mesosphere and lower thermosphere using terahertz heterodyne spectroscopy
Richter, Heiko, et al., 2021/12, Communications Earth & Environment, 2, 19.

Clouds forming in the mesosphere as seen from the International Space Station