sofia_nz_2015flitecamLogo IR Lab

In June, 2015, FLITECAM took a
trip to the southern Hemisphere.

It was part of the New Zealand deployment of SOFIA, and used with two other instruments to image the Pluto Occultation on
June 30, 2015.

Through hard work and determination of so many, the mission was a resounding success.

These web pages document the mission photographically. But they are far from all-inclusive.

Except where noted,
All content & images
Copyright © 2015
Chris Johnson
UCLA Infrared Lab

Day One - Arrival

Sarah and I arrived in Christchurch under cloudy, rainy skies, with some light snow mixed in for good measure. Exactly the type of conditions typical for winter in New Zealand.

After barely putting down our luggage, we were whisked, tiredly, away to the airport control tower for a tour. The weather was teasingly clearing.

We immediately got a birds-eye view of where we would be spending the next 9 intensive days. SOFIA on the tarmac with the Antarctic Center off to the right, and the runways to the left.

The view was magnificent.

The PI Lab is where FLITECAM and HIPO are staged before being transported to the aircraft. FLITECAM greets us, with our fellow UCLA colleague Ken working in the background. He'd arrived days earlier to help with unpacking the instrument when it arrived. The PI Lab is cold, sub 60 degree Fahrenheit cold.

Ted Dunham, the PI of HIPO, prepares it for work. The two instruments together constitute FLIPO. Its mascot is a hippo with wings and a halo; shown here from an earlier flight. Together, because HIPO has two, they allow three cameras to be focused on a given object.

Outside the weather had turned again. Here's our first closeup view of SOFIA on the tarmac. After a long travel day, we performed some initial checks of instrument status, then went to find our hotel.