Herschel Space Observatory

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Herschel Space Observatory
Herschel Space Observatory.jpg
Artist's impression of the Herschel spacecraft
NamesFar Infrared and Submillimetre Telescope
Mission typeSpace telescope
OperatorESA / NASA
COSPAR ID2009-026A
SATCAT no.34937
Mission durationPlanned: 3 years
Final: 4 years, 1 month, 2 days[1]
Spacecraft properties
ManufacturerThales Alenia Space
Launch mass3,400 kg (7,500 lb)[2]
Payload massTelescope: 315 kg (694 lb)[2]
Dimensions7.5 m × 4.0 m (25 ft × 13 ft)[2]
Power1 kW
Start of mission
Launch date14 May 2009, 13:12:02 (2009-05-14UTC13:12:02) UTC
RocketAriane 5 ECA
Launch siteGuiana Space Centre,
French Guiana
End of mission
Deactivated17 June 2013, 12:25 (2013-06-17UTC12:26) UTC[3]
Orbital parameters
Reference systemTemplate:L2
(1,500,000 km / 930,000 mi)
Main telescope
Diameter3.5 m (11 ft)
Template:F/ (primary mirror)[4]
Focal length28.5 m (94 ft)
Collecting area9.6 m2 (103 sq ft)
Wavelengths55 to 672 µm (far infrared)
← Rosetta
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The Herschel Space Observatory is a European Space Agency instrument. It is the largest infrared telescope ever put into orbit. Herschel is named after Sir William Herschel, the discoverer of the infrared spectrum, double stars, and planet Uranus.[5]

The device is sensitive to the far infrared and submillimetre short wavebands. It has a single mirror of 3.5 metres (11.5 ft) in diameter.[6][7][8]

The observatory was carried into orbit in May 2009. It is at the second Lagrangian point (L2) of the Earth-Sun system. At these points, 1,500,000 kilometres (930,000 miles) from the Earth, gravity balances, so the object stays in place.

The Herschel Observatory can record ('see') the coldest and dustiest objects in space. For example, dusty galaxies just starting to form new stars.[9] The United States, through NASA, is working with in the ESA-built and operated observatory.[10] It is the fourth 'cornerstone' mission in the ESA science program, along with Rosetta, Planck, and the Gaia mission.

The instrument has four main aims:

References[change | change source]

  1. Amos, Jonathan (29 April 2013). "Herschel space telescope finishes mission". BBC News. Retrieved 4 May 2015.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 "Herschel: Vital stats". European Space Agency. Retrieved 4 May 2015.
  3. Amos, Jonathan (17 June 2013). "Herschel telescope switched off". BBC News. Retrieved 17 June 2013.
  4. 4.0 4.1 "The Herschel Space Observatory". Swiss Physical Society. March 2009. Retrieved 4 May 2015.
  5. "Revealing the invisible: Caroline and William Herschel". ESA. 18 June 2000. Retrieved 22 July 2010.
  6. "ESA launches Herschel and Planck space telescopes". Euronews. Retrieved 3 December 2010.
  7. Amos, Jonathan (14 June 2009). "ESA launches Herschel and Planck space telescopes". BBC. Retrieved 3 December 2010.
  8. "ESA launches Herschel and Planck space telescopes". Aerospaceguide. Retrieved 3 December 2010.
  9. ESA Science & Technology: Herschel. Retrieved on 28 July 2010
  10. "NSSDC Spacecraft Details: Herschel Space Observatory". NASA. Retrieved 3 July 2010.

Other websites[change | change source]