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Science Bulletin

SOFIA: Stars and the Space Between

By sending an infrared telescope to altitudes of 12,000 meters (40,000 feet) and higher, NASA and the German Aerospace Center (DLR) conduct astronomical research that would be impossible using telescopes based on Earth. The Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy—SOFIA—is the only airborne telescope in the world. Infrared imaging of stars and planets is difficult from ground-based observatories, because water vapor in Earth's lower atmosphere blocks most infrared radiation. SOFIA operates from a modified Boeing 747, soaring high above occluding vapor to capture infrared emissions from distant galaxies. Using instruments that include a high-speed imager and a sensitive far-infrared spectrometer, SOFIA will provide insights into distant star formation, the chemical composition of deep space, and the atmospheres of planets within our own solar system.
Science Bulletins is a production of the National Center for Science Literacy, Education, and Technology (NCSLET), part of the Department of Education at the American Museum of Natural History. Find out more about Science Bulletins at

Brown Dwarfs: Tail End of the Stars

Science Bulletin

Brown Dwarfs: Tail End of the Stars

Journey to the heights of Mauna Kea in Hawaii where astronomers search for brown dwarfs, cosmic bodies that are not quite stars and not quite planets. These long-sought objects are still elusive and visible largely with advanced technologies such as the adaptive optics tools on the Keck II telescope.

The Expanding Universe

Science Bulletin

Our Expanding Universe

In 1998, astrophysicists discovered a baffling phenomenon: the Universe is expanding at an ever-faster rate. Either an enigmatic force called dark energy is to blameor a reworking of gravitational theory is in order. In this new Science Bulletins video, watch a Fermilab team assemble the Dark Energy Camera, a device that could finally solve this space-stretching mystery.
Science Bulletins is a production of the National Center for Science Literacy, Education, and Technology (NCSLET), part of the Department of Education at the American Museum of Natural History. Each Bulletin is produced by AMNHs curatorial and scientific staff and a team of video producers, designers, writers, and educators using state-of-the-art technologies such as high-definition video and 3-D computer graphics to present the latest research.

Geologist on Mars

Science Bulletin

Geologists on Mars

In March 2004, two NASA explorers discovered firm evidence that water once flowed on Mars—perhaps enough water to harbor life.

The Known Universe

Science Bulletin

The Known Universe

The Known Universe takes viewers from the Himalayas through our atmosphere and the inky black of space to the afterglow of the Big Bang. It is a short flight through the world's most complete four-dimensional map of the Universe, the Digital Universe Atlas, which is maintained and updated by astrophysicists at the American Museum of Natural History.


New York Water Story

Millions of gallons of water flow through New York City’s water system each day. Where does it all come from? And where does it all go? Take an interactive journey to find out.

Reference List

Astronomy Books for Adults

Focus on the best books about astronomy, astrophysics, light, telescopes, digital imaging, and the 3-D universe with this list of recommended titles, suitable for older students and adults.


Curriculum Materials

Einstein Books for Adults

Considered the world's most intriguing genius, Einstein has inspired hundreds of writings. Here's a short list of some of the most enlightening looks at his life and ideas, including some he penned.



The Fate of a Frozen Land

Earth's ice sheets are rapidly losing volume as humans have warmed the Arctic by over 2 degrees Celsius in the past 50 years. Could Greenland really unfreeze? And what might happen if it does?


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