Airborne observatory SOFIA

Historian: My curiosity about SOFIA was aroused by a video about key parts of this airborne observatory [link]. The video is a bit quick. The notes accompanying the video are a big help:

The Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA) is the largest airborne observatory in the world, capable of making observations that are impossible for even the largest and highest ground-based telescopes. SOFIA is an extensively modified Boeing 747SP aircraft carrying a reflecting telescope with an effective diameter of 2.5 meters (100 inches). SOFIA studies many different kinds of astronomical objects and phenomena, including star birth and death, the formation of new solar systems, black holes at the center of galaxies, and complex molecules in space. SOFIA's instruments — cameras, spectrometers, and photometers — operate in the near-, mid- and far-infrared wavelengths and allow scientists onboard to study the solar system and beyond while flying at 38,000- 45,000 feet.

Physicist: We can further satisfy our SOFIA curiosity via the NASA SOFIA mission home [link]. There is much to browse there including many fascinating images and many nice videos. There is also much to browse via the Science at NASA SOFIA mission home [link].