Greetings To You!
I am very blessed that you have stopped by to share in this exciting adventure with me. The time is fast approaching when I travel out to Palmdale, CA to experience the sights and sounds of Infrared Astronomy aboard the world’s largest flying observatory – NASA’s SOFIA Aircraft.
SOFIA stands for the Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy. As explained on the SOFIA website, 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. The result of an 80/20 partnership of NASA and the German Aerospace Center (DLR), SOFIA is an extensively modified Boeing 747SP aircraft carrying a reflecting telescope with an effective diameter of 2.5 meters (100 inches).
My partner, Mike Shinabery, of the New Mexico Museum of Space History, and I were selected to participate in NASA’s Airborne Astronomy Ambassador (AAA) program in February. We are the first educators from New Mexico to take part in the program, and I am the first Teacher for the Visually Impaired in the nation to be in the program as well. I am proud to be able to represent my school, the New Mexico School for the Blind and Visually Impaired and all of our students both on our campus and around the great state of New Mexico. I am also humbled to be able to do this on behalf of all students with visual impairments and blindness across the country. I belong to you and I hope to make you proud!
Since our acceptance as Airborne Ambassadors we have prepared by taking a graduate level astronomy class through Montana State University. It was rigorous and we learned a great deal about modern astronomy. Since the end of the class, we have been waiting for our turn aboard SOFIA. And that time is almost here! We head out to Palmdale on September 13, with our flights occurring on Sept. 15th and 17th.
In the next few weeks leading up to our flights and after, I’ll keep you informed here on my blog by posting information about the SOFIA mission and some educational tid bits to ponder, and of course, sharing pictures and video from the adventure. So check here often for updates and information about SOFIA and our flights.
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Be Blessed In All You Do!