Published online by Cambridge University Press: 29 April 2014
The NASA/DLR Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA), a 2.5-meter infrared telescope on board a Boeing 747-SP, will conduct 0.3 - 1,600 μm photometric, spectroscopic, and imaging observations from altitudes as high as 45,000 ft., where the average atmospheric transmission is greater than 80 percent. SOFIA's first light cameras and spectrometers, as well as future generations of instruments, will make important contributions to the characterization of the physical properties of exoplanets. Our analysis shows that optical and near-infrared photometric and spectrophotometric follow-up observations during planetary transits and eclipses will be feasible with SOFIA's instrumentation, in particular the HIPO-FLITECAM optical/NIR instruments. The airborne-based platform has unique advantages in comparison to ground- and space-based observatories in this field of research which we will outline here. Furthermore we will present two exemplary science cases, that will be conducted in SOFIA's cycle 1.