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Terry Herter


Space Sciences Building, Room 202
Space Science Bldg


Terry Herter's interests include normal and starburst galaxies, circumstellar disks, and the galactic center. In the recent past he has also studied HII (ionized hydrogen) regions and planetary nebulae. From time to time, he has dabbled in planetary astronomy: observing planets, moons and comets. He has also working on the development and testing of infrared arrays for ground-based, airborne, and space-based astronomy.

He is Principal Investigator on a first light instrument on the Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA). The instrument, called FORCAST, is a camera that will be used to image star formation regions, debris disks around nearby stars, and other galaxies. FORCAST achieved first light for SOFIA in May 2010 and has been used 13 science flights, 10 of those support the general community.  FORCAST will be commissioned on handed over to the SOFIA project in early 2013.

He is also involved in an effort by Cornell to build a large telescope in the high Atacama desert of Northern Chile and serves on a national committee (GSMT-SWG) summarizing the scientific potential of large ground based telescopes.

He is the lead on TripleSpec, a spectrograph that obtains simultaneously a complete 0.85 - 2.5 micron spectrum at a resolution of 2700. Three copies are of TripleSpec have been fabricated via a collaboration between Cornell, University of Virginia, Caltech, and JPL. The Cornell version of TripleSpec was delivered and commissioned in 2008 for use on the 200-inch Palomar Observatory telescope.  A new version, TriipleSpec4, is now underway with delivery for use on the CTIO Blanco 4-meter telescope in 2015.


  • Astronomy

Graduate Fields

  • Astronomy and Space Sciences


  • Cornell Center for Astrophysics and Planetary Science


  • FORECAST: A Widefield Infrared Camera for SOFIA
  • TripleSpec 4: A Facility Near-Infrared Spectrograph for the Blanco 4-m Telescope at CTIO



  • "First Science Observations with SOFIA/FORCAST: Properties of Intermediate-luminosity Protostars and Circumstellar Disks in OMC-2," Adams, J. D., Herter, T. L., Osorio, M., et al. 2012, ApJ, 749, L24
  • "First Science Observations with SOFIA/FORCAST: 6-37 μm Imaging of Orion BN/KL," De Buizer, J. M., Morris, M. R., Becklin, E. E., et al. 2012, ApJ, 749, L23
  • "First Science Observations with SOFIA/FORCAST: 6-37 μm Imaging of the Central Orion Nebula," Shuping, R. Y., Morris, M. R., Herter, T. L., et al. 2012, ApJ, 749, L22
  • "First Science Results from SOFIA/FORCAST: The Mid-infrared View of the Compact H II Region W3A," Salgado, F., Berné, O., Adams, J. D., et al. 2012, ApJ, 749, L21
  • "First Science Results from SOFIA/FORCAST: Super-resolution Imaging of the S140 Cluster at 37 μm," Harvey, P. M., Adams, J. D., Herter, T. L., et al. 2012, ApJ, 749, L20
  • "Mid-IR FORCAST/SOFIA Observations of M82," Nikola, T., Herter, T. L., Vacca, W. D., et al. 2012, ApJ, 749, L19
  • "First Science Observations with SOFIA/FORCAST: The FORCAST Mid-infrared Camera," Herter, T. L., Adams, J. D., De Buizer, J. M., et al. 2012, ApJ, 749, L18
  • "Early Science with SOFIA, the Stratospheric Observatory For Infrared Astronomy," Young, E. T., Becklin, E. E., Marcum, P. M., et al. 2012, ApJ, 749, L17
  • "Pointing stability and image quality of the SOFIA Airborne Telescope during initial science missions," Lampater, U., Keas, P., Brewster, R., et al. 2011, SPIE, 8336
  • "Status of the Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA)," Gehrz, R. D., Becklin, E. E., De Buizer, J., et al. 2011, AdSpR, 48, 1004
  • "EPOXI: Comet 103P/Hartley 2 Observations from a Worldwide Campaign," Meech, K. J., A'Hearn, M. F., Adams, J. A., et al. 2011, ApJ, 734, L1