For Hometown News
NASA's Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy, or SOFIA, will become a flying classroom for teachers during research flights in the next few months.
Twelve two-person teams have been selected for SOFIA's Airborne Astronomy Ambassadors program, representing educators from 10 states. Each will be paired with a professional astronomer to observe first-hand how airborne infrared astronomy is conducted. After their flight opportunities, Airborne Astronomy Ambassadors will take what they learn back to their classrooms and into their communities to promote science literacy.
SOFIA is a highly modified Boeing 747SP jetliner fitted with a 100-inch (2.5-meter) effective diameter telescope. The aircraft flies at altitudes between 39,000 and 45,000 feet (12-14 kilometers), above the water vapor in the Earth's atmosphere, and collects data in the infrared spectrum.
SOFIA's Airborne Astronomy Ambassadors for 2014 are:
o Megan Tucker and Dan Molik, The Palmdale Aerospace Academy, Palmdale, Calif.
o Barbel Sepulveda, Lincoln High School, and Chris Rauschenfels, Sierra Middle School, Stockton, Calif.
o Nathan Mahoney, Pine Crest School, Deerfield Beach, Fla. and Héllen Tavora, South Florida Amateur Astronomers Association and Fox Astronomical Observatory, Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
o Marcella Linahan, Carmel Catholic High School, Mundelein, Ill., and Lynne Zielinski National Space Society, Long Grove, Ill.
o Judi Little and LeeAnn Vaughan, Burke High School, Omaha, Neb.
o Margaret Holzer, Chatham High School, Somerset, N.J., and Theresa Roelofsen Moody, New Jersey Astronomy Center at Raritan Valley Community College, High Bridge, N.J.
o Michael Maccarone and Elizabeth Rosenberger, Avenues: The World School, Hoboken, N.J.
o Tom Jenkins, Dayton Regional STEM Center, Enon, Ohio, and Heidi Steinbrink, Oakwood Senior High School, Springfield, Ohio
o Robert Black, North Medford High School, and Dave Bloomsness, Southern Oregon Skywatchers, Medford, Ore.
o George Hademenos and Diane Watson, Richardson High School, Richardson, Texas
o Kim Abegglen and Anna-Melissa Lyons, Hockinson Middle School, Vancouver, Wash.
o Kathy Gustavson, Nicolet High School, Whitefish Bay, Wisc., and Jean Creighton University of Wisconsin-Madison, Manfred Olson Planetarium, Milwaukee.
SOFIA is a joint project of NASA and the German Aerospace Center. The aircraft is based at the Dryden Aircraft Operations Facility in Palmdale, Calif. NASA's Dryden Flight Research Center in Edwards, Calif., manages the program. Ames manages the SOFIA science and mission operations in cooperation with the Universities Space Research Association in Columbia, Md., and the German SOFIA Institute at the University of Stuttgart.
For more information about SOFIA, visit www.nasa.gov/sofia and www.dlr.de/en/sofia.
For information about SOFIA's science mission and scientific instruments, visit www.sofia.usra.edu and www.dsi.uni-stuttgart.de/index.en.html.