Contributed Talk - Splinter SOFIA

Tuesday, 12 September 2023, 14:15   (H 3006)

SOFIA highlights in star formatiom

Hans Zinnecker
Universidad Autonoma de Chile, Santiago de Chile

In this contribution, I will describe and summarize a dozen or so key results (highlights) that the Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA) has achieved in the field of star formation at mid- and far-infrared wavelengths since 2010. Such a summary so far does not seem to exist. The results include the discovery of new embedded far-infrared sources, dynamical infall studies into protocluster clouds, a legacy survey of feedback from new massive stars and another legacy survey of massive star formation in the galactic circumnuclear molecular zone, to name but a few examples. Significantly, for the first time studies of the magnetic field structure in star forming regions (galactic and extragalactic) were carried out, information that the Herschel Space Observatory could not provide. The SOFIA instruments used included FORCAST, GREAT, upGREAT, FIFI-LS, and HAWC+ yielding imaging, spectroscopic, and continuum polarimetric data respectively. I will also ponder which future star formation related additional observations SOFIA might have obtained, had it not prematurely been terminated at the peak of its productivity by NASA (and DLR) as of Sept 30, 2022, following a shallow 2019 evaluation and negative recommendation by the 2020 US NAS Decadal Survey, instead of an expected in-depth mission senior review.