Herschel Space Observatory
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.
Artist's impression of the Herschel spacecraft
|Names||Far Infrared and Submillimetre Telescope|
|Mission type||Space telescope|
|Operator||ESA / NASA|
|Mission duration||Planned: 3 years |
Final: 4 years, 1 month, 2 days
|Manufacturer||Thales Alenia Space|
|Launch mass||3,400 kg (7,500 lb)|
|Payload mass||Telescope: 315 kg (694 lb)|
|Dimensions||7.5 m × 4.0 m (25 ft × 13 ft)|
|Start of mission|
|Launch date||14 May 2009, 13:12:02UTC|
|Rocket||Ariane 5 ECA|
|Launch site||Guiana Space Centre,|
|End of mission|
|Deactivated||17 June 2013, 12:25UTC|
(1,500,000 km / 930,000 mi)
|Diameter||3.5 m (11 ft) |
Template:F/ (primary mirror)
|Focal length||28.5 m (94 ft) |
|Collecting area||9.6 m2 (103 sq ft)|
|Wavelengths||55 to 672 µm (far infrared)|
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. The United States, through NASA, is working with in the ESA-built and operated observatory. 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:
- Amos, Jonathan (29 April 2013). "Herschel space telescope finishes mission". BBC News. Retrieved 4 May 2015.
- "Herschel: Vital stats". European Space Agency. Retrieved 4 May 2015.
- Amos, Jonathan (17 June 2013). "Herschel telescope switched off". BBC News. Retrieved 17 June 2013.
- "The Herschel Space Observatory". Swiss Physical Society. March 2009. Retrieved 4 May 2015.
- "Revealing the invisible: Caroline and William Herschel". ESA. 18 June 2000. Retrieved 22 July 2010.
- "ESA launches Herschel and Planck space telescopes". Euronews. Retrieved 3 December 2010.
- Amos, Jonathan (14 June 2009). "ESA launches Herschel and Planck space telescopes". BBC. Retrieved 3 December 2010.
- "ESA launches Herschel and Planck space telescopes". Aerospaceguide. Retrieved 3 December 2010.
- ESA Science & Technology: Herschel. Retrieved on 28 July 2010
- "NSSDC Spacecraft Details: Herschel Space Observatory". NASA. Retrieved 3 July 2010.
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