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 July 31, 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 July 31, 2014).

Share This




More Space & Time News

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Supply Ship Takes Off for International Space Station

Supply Ship Takes Off for International Space Station

AFP (July 30, 2014) The European Space Agency's fifth Automated Transfer Vehicle (ATV-5) is takes off to the International Space Station on an Ariane 5 rocket from French Guiana. Duration: 00:34 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Rocket Launches Into Space With Cargo Ship

Raw: Rocket Launches Into Space With Cargo Ship

AP (July 30, 2014) Arianespace launched a rocket Tuesday from French Guiana carrying a robotic cargo ship to deliver provisions to the International Space Station. (July 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
In Virginia, the Rise of a New Space Coast

In Virginia, the Rise of a New Space Coast

AP (July 30, 2014) Every summer, tourists make the pilgrimage to Chincoteague Island, Va. to see wild ponies cross the Assateague Channel. But, it's the rockets sending to supplies to the International Space Station that are making this a year-round destination. (July 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Russia Saves Gecko Sex Satellite, Media Has Some Fun With It

Russia Saves Gecko Sex Satellite, Media Has Some Fun With It

Newsy (July 27, 2014) The satellite is back under ground control after a tense few days, but with a gecko sex experiment on board, the media just couldn't help themselves. Video provided by Newsy
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:
from the past week

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