SOFIA, the only facility currently allowing access to the infrared wavelength range, is in its 7th observing cycle and can look back on an impressive list of discoveries and research conducted with this airborne observatory. I will present recent results and some classics to showcase SOFIA’s capabilities and scientific productivity. The science topics range from planetary science and circum-stellar disks over astro-chemistry and processes in the interstellar medium to star formation in our and other galaxies and active galactic nuclei.
The capabilities of SOFIA are growing over time as new instruments are commissioned. The newest instrument, the far infrared camera and polarimeter HAWC+, has already published significant findings on magnetic fields in a wide range of objects. In 2021, we are expecting the new mid to far-infrared spectrometer HIRMES offering extremely high spectral resolution (up to 105).
Also the SOFIA data archive is growing with regular and science demonstration observations and soon with SOFIA Legacy Programs. Access will become easier through IRSA and the SOFIA Science Center is improving support for archive research. The presentation will be rounded off by mentioning that all of SOFIA’s capabilities and funding are available to the community though the Cycle 8 Call for Proposals to be issued at the end of May.