Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Eulogy to Herschel

Date:
January 2, 2013
Source:
Institute of Physics (IOP)
Summary:
With its 2160 liters of liquid helium about to run out, the Herschel Space Observatory will, by the end of March, become just another piece of space junk. The astronomer who leads one of the telescope’s largest surveys, explains how this space facility has advanced our understanding of star and galaxy formation.

With its 2160 litres of liquid helium about to run out, the Herschel Space Observatory will, by the end of March, become just another piece of space junk.

In January's Physics World, Steve Eales, a University of Cardiff astronomer who leads one of the telescope's largest surveys, explains how this space facility has advanced our understanding of star and galaxy formation.

Sub-millimetre wavelength astronomy -- the kind of astronomy that the European Space Agency's Herschel Space Observatory has been undertaking since blast off in May 2009 -- lets us observe fundamental astronomical events, reaching parts of the universe that optical light cannot.

As Eales writes, "In peering into the big clouds of gas and dust that are the "maternity wards" of stars and then detecting the sub-millimetre light emitted from the dust around the newly formed stars, Herschel is doing much to study star formation, which is one of astronomy's 'big questions'."

Held in place by the gravitational forces between Earth and the Sun, at some 1.6 million kilometres from us, Herschel has been able to detect faint sub-millimetre radiation from 10 billion years back in time.

Eales remarks on the pace at which our understanding of the universe is advancing thanks to the observatory, which was named after the German-born astronomer William Herschel, who discovered infrared radiation and the planet Uranus, with help from his sister Caroline.

Recalling whole nights spent looking for one new galaxy with its sub-millimetre predecessor -- the James Maxwell Space Telescope -- Eales describes how he recently turned up 7000 new galaxies in barely 16 hours using Herschel data.

The 2160 litres of helium that Herschel blasted off with has kept the observatory cold enough to ensure that the heat given off by its own machinery doesn't confuse its readings.

This March, however, the helium will run out and Herschel will be defunct. But, as Eales writes, "the treasure trove of Herschel data will be picked through by astronomers for years to come."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Institute of Physics (IOP). Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Institute of Physics (IOP). "Eulogy to Herschel." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 2 January 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/01/130102083555.htm>.
Institute of Physics (IOP). (2013, January 2). Eulogy to Herschel. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/01/130102083555.htm
Institute of Physics (IOP). "Eulogy to Herschel." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/01/130102083555.htm (accessed October 20, 2014).

Share This



More Space & Time News

Monday, October 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Latin America Launches Communications Satellite

Latin America Launches Communications Satellite

AFP (Oct. 17, 2014) Argentina launches a home-built satellite, a first for Latin America. It will ride a French-made Ariane 5 rocket into orbit, and will provide cell phone, digital TV, Internet and data services to the lower half of South America. Duration: 00:41 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
This Week @ NASA, October 17, 2014

This Week @ NASA, October 17, 2014

NASA (Oct. 17, 2014) Power spacewalk, MAVEN’s “First Light”, Hubble finds extremely distant galaxy and more... Video provided by NASA
Powered by NewsLook.com
Saturn's 'Death Star' Moon Might Have A Hidden Ocean

Saturn's 'Death Star' Moon Might Have A Hidden Ocean

Newsy (Oct. 17, 2014) The smallest of Saturn's main moons, Mimas, wobbles as it orbits. Research reveals it might be due to a global ocean underneath its icy surface. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Comet Set for Rare Close Shave With Mars

Comet Set for Rare Close Shave With Mars

AFP (Oct. 16, 2014) A fast-moving comet is about to shave by Mars for a once-in-a-million-years encounter that a flurry of spacecraft around the Red Planet hope to capture and photograph, NASA said. Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Space & Time

Matter & Energy

Computers & Math

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins