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December 12, 2016 AT 1:00 pm

Inside The Heart Of The World’s Largest Flying Observatory

Take an inside tour of The Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy from NASA.

The Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA) is the largest airborne observatory in the world, capable of making observations that are impossible for even the largest and highest ground-based telescopes. SOFIA is an extensively modified Boeing 747SP aircraft carrying a reflecting telescope with an effective diameter of 2.5 meters (100 inches). SOFIA studies many different kinds of astronomical objects and phenomena, including star birth and death, the formation of new solar systems, black holes at the center of galaxies, and complex molecules in space.

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