Infrared Observations with SOFIA
R. Klein1 and the SOFIA team
1SOFIA/USRA, NASA Ames, Moffett Field, CA, USA
The infrared is a crucial wavelength range to study any astrophysical object with a temperature between a few 100K and a few Kelvin. At these temperature, which are typical for the cold and warm interstellar medium (ISM), the spectral energy distribution (SED) peaks in the infrared. For example, the absolute maximum of an SED of a star-forming galaxy is located in the infrared as the bulk of the star light is absorbed by the ISM and reemitted in the infrared. Fine-structure lines from atoms and ions are prominent cooling lines of the ISM and can be used as diagnostic tool for various phases of the ISM. Another example for targets in the right temperature range are planetary atmospheres or surfaces of minor bodies. SOFIA, the Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy, is the only facility providing community access to the this curial part of the spectrum currently and for the foreseeable future. Infrared observations are possible from 5\mum up to 240\mum with suite of five instruments. The instrument offer imaging and spectroscopy over the whole wavelength range. This poster presents a short summary of the capabilities and instruments of SOFIA together examples of how they have been employed. The science highlights range from extra-galactic star formation, the galatic center and galactic star formation over to planetary science.