Far-uv Off Rowland-circle Telescope for Imaging and Spectroscopy (FORTIS)

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Blue stragglers are stars that are bluer, more massive, and more luminous than the main sequence turnoff in a given stellar population. Star formation theories assume that all stars in a cluster form at roughly the same time, therefore these blue stragglers require alternative formation mechanisms. They are thought to form via collisions and interactions of binary stars, so high stellar density environments such as globular clusters provide rich sources of blue stragglers.

This mission will provide Far-UV spectra of blue stragglers in globular cluster M10 with the FORTIS instrument. FORTIS is a multi-object spectro/telescope equipped with a next-generation microshutter array (NGMSA) capable of imaging individual stars within NGMSA slitlets while simultaneously obtaining their far-UV spectra. Using far-UV light will allow us to easily distinguish the blue stragglers from the large population of old red stars in the cluster. These spectra and images will enable further exploration of blue straggler formation mechanisms in globular clusters.

The Principal Invetigator is Dr. McCandliss/Johns Hopkins University

Drawing of a Terrier-Black Brant sounding rocket

The Black Brant 9 is a two stage sounding rocket with a Terrier first stage and Black Brant second stage. The Black Brant 9 can reach altitudes of about 600 km. Payloads weighing from 400 to 1200 pounds can be flown.

Additional sounding rocket vehicles

Google Earth Map showing White Sands Missile Range.

The FORTIS mission will be launched from White Sands Missile Range, NM.

Photos not currently available.