"SOFIA - NASA’s New Flying Observatory”, an illustrated lecture by Professor Bruce Wilking of the University of Missouri - Saint Louis, will be featured at the January meeting of the St. Louis Astronomical Society. The meeting will begin at 7:30 PM Friday, January 21, in McDonnell Hall, Room 162, on the Washington University campus, Saint Louis, MO 63130. McDonnell Hall is accessible from Forsyth Boulevard via Tolman Way. The event, cosponsored by NASA's Missouri Space Grant Consortium, is open to the public free of charge.
In addition to ground-based observatories and orbiting space telescopes, astronomers can now study the universe using an airborne facility – the new NASA flying observatory SOFIA. SOFIA features a telescope system built into a highly modified Boeing 747 jet aircraft. Cruising at 40,000 feet or more, the aircraft flies above much of the atmosphere and most of the water vapor. That allows the 100 inch-wide infrared telescope to acquire images and data that surpass the best efforts of ground-based instruments of much larger size. Dr. Wilking will talk about the capabilities of the SOFIA facility, as well as about some of the astronomical objects that it was designed to study.
Dr. Wilking is a Professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Missouri – Saint Louis. His research interests include star formation and also the study of very small sub-stars called brown dwarfs. He has participated in proposals for telescope observing time at a number of facilities, including the Infrared Telescope Facility in Mauna Key, Hawaii, the NRAO 12-meter telescope, and the Hubble Space Telescope.
The St. Louis Astronomical Society is an organization for individuals interested in astronomy and telescopes. The public is invited to attend its meetings, telescope observing sessions, and special events. For more information about Astronomical Society events, please visit the website, www.slasonline.org , or call 314 - 935-4614.