Webinar: SOFIA, observatory between Sky and Earth

The fourth lecture-webinar of TUKE Space Forum will be dedicated to the unique observatory called SOFIA. See for yourself, the big telescope aboard the Boeing 747 is a technological delicacy that is hard to see. SOFIA brings together the advantages of space and ground telescopes in one.

Bernhard Schulz, Deputy Science Mission Operations Director of the SOFIA Observatory, will tell us about the SOFIA Flying Observatory.

Title of the lecture: Science with SOFIA (Stratospheric Observatory For Infrared Astronomy)

Speaker: Bernhard Schulz

Update July 22, 2020:
Video-recording of the teleconference is available online.

Discussion with Bernhard Schulz, Deputy Director for SOFIA Science Mission Operations

What the lecture will be about:

The infrared is a key part of the electromagnetic spectrum for studying star formationand evolution, galaxies, planets, and the interstellar medium, but it is absorbed by atmospheric water.

SOFIA, run by a US/German partnership, consists of a 2.7m telescope, that is lifted by a heavily modified Boeing 747-SP into the stratosphere above more than 99% of the atmosphere’s water vapor. The presentation will give an overview over the capabilities of the observatory, including a few illustrative scientific applications.

We will discuss the wavelength coverage, sensitivities, and observing modes, and the limitations that arise from the specifics of an aircraft based observatory. Furthermore we will explore what is needed to successfully compete for observing time on SOFIA.

About speaker:

Bernhard Schulz is a German astrophysicist with a strong record in space based infrared instrumentation. His scientific interests include active galactic nuclei, ultraluminous galaxies, dust, and the interstellar medium, but also small solar system objects.

In 1993 he received his PhD (Dr. rer. nat.) in Astronomy from the Ruprecht-Karls University in Heidelberg at the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy and went on to work at the European Space Agency, first in the Netherlands, then in Spain, as calibration scientist and deputy instrument team lead for ISOPHOT, one of the four instruments of the Infrared Space Observatory. In 2002 he joined Caltech in Pasadena, California to help set up the NASA Herschel Science Center at IPAC as team lead and instrument specialist for SPIRE, supporting the US astronomical community in using this ESA led space observatory and providing essential contributions to instrument calibration and data processing. His time at Caltech also included contributions to the Spitzer Space Observatory.

In 2018 Bernhard Schulz was appointed Deputy Science Mission Operations Director for SOFIA by the University of Stuttgart in Germany with duty station at NASA Ames in Moffet Field, California. His roles as selection official for the German science program on SOFIA, an international airborne infrared observatory, operated by NASA and DLR, and being a quasi ambassador between both countries, draw from his expertise in working within complex, large, international projects, and his broad exposure to many astrophysical fields.

The lecture will be teleconferenced via Zoom at

Date and time of the event: Wednesday, April 15, 2020 at 16:00

You can ask Bernhard Schulz questions via slido, event code #49461.