Herschel Space Observatory

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Herschel Space Observatory
Herschel Space Observatory.jpg
OrganizationEuropean Space Agency (ESA)
LocationLagrangian point L2
Wavelength60-670 µm (far-infrared)
Telescope style Ritchey-Chrétien
Diameter3,500 mm (140 in), f/0.5 (Primary Mirror)
Collecting area9.6 m2 (103 sq ft)
Focal length28.5 m (94 ft), f/8.7

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.[1]

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.[2][3][4]

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.[5] The United States, through NASA, is working with in the ESA-built and operated observatory.[6] 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:

Reference[change | change source]

  1. "Revealing the invisible: Caroline and William Herschel". ESA. 18 June 2000. Retrieved 22 July 2010.
  2. "ESA launches Herschel and Planck space telescopes". Euronews. Retrieved 3 December 2010.
  3. Amos, Jonathan (14 June 2009). "ESA launches Herschel and Planck space telescopes". BBC. Retrieved 3 December 2010.
  4. "ESA launches Herschel and Planck space telescopes". Aerospaceguide. Retrieved 3 December 2010.
  5. ESA Science & Technology: Herschel. Retrieved on 28 July 2010
  6. "NSSDC Spacecraft Details: Herschel Space Observatory". NASA. Retrieved 3 July 2010.

Other websites[change | change source]