The most recent flight of our SOFIA flying observatory brought the team so far south that they spotted the southern lights, also known as Aurora Australis. The Milky Way and Mars are also visible in this image taken at 43,000 feet.
The SOFIA telescope (@SOFIAtelescope) uses an outfitted Boeing 747SP jetliner that’s been modified to carry a 106-inch diameter telescope, and uses infrared light to study celestial objects best viewed from the Southern Hemisphere. The latest flight was aimed at studying the center of the Milky Way and the Tarantula Nebula.
Creating images of the celestial magnetic fields found in the center of our Milky Way galaxy will help scientists better understand the shape and strength of these fields and gain new insights into how they impact the processes in the our galactic center.
Mapping the Tarantula Nebula, which has a cluster of thousands of stars forming at once, will help researchers determine the speed and direction of the molecules in the nebula to determine if the material is expanding, forming new stars or if the star formation process has been stunted.
#NASA #space #nebula #SOFIA #747 #BlackHoles #galaxies #stars #supernova #MilkyWay #TarantulaNebula #AuroraAustralis #SouthernHemisphere #South #SouthernLights #aurora #science #mars #universe #Boeing747