NASA’s 747SP flying telescope is on the move.

Looks like they are looking at North Dakota.

Another fruitless search for intelligent life?

The SOFIA telescope stares at the cosmos for long periods. It wants smooth air and long stretches flying perpendicular to the star/galaxy of interest. At FL390 to FL450, they’re above 99% of the atmospheric water vapor, which makes infrared astronomy work a whole lot better. (Water vapor glows in the infrared, which buries the starlight.)

They’re almost done testing the telescope and instruments, and this was the first scientific test of one of those instruments. Routine science flights apparently begin this month.

so what galaxy in North Dakota in?

It’s part of the United States cluster-f***


I can only hope you are trying to make a joke because if you think they are looking at North Dakota for a galaxy then you are too stupid to be allowed to breathe without supervision.

I guess in 4 years you haven’t figured out my sense of humor yet.

didn’t know you had one. :laughing:

Easy does it RW. I’m sure Porter knows that the telescope looks up not down. No need to come back all insulting and hostile, when a wink will do. You really need a reflex to respect people by default.

You could answer the question correctly with a straight face: N. Dakota is in the Milky Way galaxy. (Now please tell me what galaxy Andrew Napolitano is in.)

You could show the plane and point out that the telescope can only look upward:

You could also figure out which compass direction and elevation the telescope must have been looking to see the two featured targets in the news release, galaxy IC 342 (3 megaparsecs away) and the M17 nebula (1.8 kiloparsec, well within our own galaxy).
IC 342 would have been between NNW and N most of the night, about 10 to 40 deg above the horizon.
M17 would have been SE to S, rising at about 2am and reaching 38 deg above the horizon before the flight ended.

Those compass directions make better sense if I use the correct flight track to go with the news story, i.e. April 5 instead of May 5. Then IC 342 and M17 are indeed directly transverse to the flight path. For the May 5 flight, nobody has announced what they were looking at with the telescope; and normally they wouldn’t, until they’d had a chance to analyze the data and publish a paper (months to years).

Wish I’d of thought of that first.

So do we.

Put down the Haterade!! You would be amazed where you can find a galaxy.