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 Two - Orientation

The US Antarctic Program facilities are not normally used in the winter time, so it is the perfect location to host SOFIA for its southern deployments.

There is ample warehouse space to house all of the instruments and equipment which are required. Though the space can be a little bit on the cold side.

Outside, it's crisp and clear. We take our first trip out to the aircraft to see how things look. High visibility vests are required, since the flight line can be very active.

The FORCAST instrument, developed at Cornell, would be coming off of SOFIA soon. Unfortunately, it had a couple of flights scrubbed due to bad weather.

No weather concerns right now! The moon rises over SOFIA, and the southern sky appears later in the evening.

[NOTE: Mouse over the image for annotation] Unlike Los Angeles, the skies are clear enough to see the Milky Way only 5 km (3.1 miles) outside of the airport. Even with the lights of Christchurch intruding, the Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC) and Small Magellanic Cloud (SMC) are barely visible to the camera in this long exposure image, but not at all to the naked eye.