Sofia is a grand and beautiful lady. She is a great asset to the science community. How many of you know Sofia? Well let me introduce her to you. No, I'm not talking about Sofia Cappola the actress.
I mean NASA's plane that is a flying observatory. Since the government is shut down right now, I couldn't get any picture off the government's NASA web site, so you will have to be satisfied with the few I did find on the Internet. The picture below is of the Boeing 747 taking off on one of it's excursions to fly at 41,000 feet which is above most all of the water vapor. Water vapor blocks infrared and this plane carries an infrared telescope.
It has a huge door that opens so the telescope can "see" out into space. (The big door is on the other side of the plate.) This was an engineering marvel. If you just had a big door like that open on an ordinary aircraft in flight it would be catastrophic. But this plane was specifically designed to be stable with the door open or closed.
"SOFIA was based at the U.S. Antarctic Program's airfield in Christchurch, New Zealand from July 12 to August 2, studying the center of our Milky Way Galaxy, star forming regions and supernova remnants in the southern sky, and the Milky Way's companion dwarf galaxies." A quote from off the Internet.
You all know how much I love space and all the stuff that is out there. This project which is expected to run for many more years will give me a lot of information that is missing from what I know about what is out there. Now, I hope you all don't have a too "far out" day, but just have a great day, you hear?