Latest Herschel Space Observatory Stories

2009-11-17 11:00:00

NASA's Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer, or Wise, is chilled out, sporting a sunshade and getting ready to roll. NASA's newest spacecraft is scheduled to roll to the pad on Friday, Nov. 20, its last stop before launching into space to survey the entire sky in infrared light. Wise is scheduled to launch no earlier than 9:09 a.m. EST on Dec. 9 from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. It will circle Earth over the poles, scanning the entire sky one-and-a-half times in nine months. The...

2009-10-02 07:35:00

Herschel has delivered spectacular vistas of cold gas clouds lying near the plane of the Milky Way, revealing intense, unexpected activity. The dark, cool region is dotted with stellar factories, like pearls on a cosmic string. On 3 September, Herschel aimed its telescope at a reservoir of cold gas in the constellation of the Southern Cross near the Galactic Plane. As the telescope scanned the sky, the spacecraft's Spectral and Photometric Imaging REceiver, SPIRE, and Photoconductor Array...

2009-09-17 07:39:27

The European Space Agency says it has completed a two-week first light assessment of its Planck space observatory and found data quality to be excellent. Plank, a microwave observatory, is designed to study the early universe and will make two full sky surveys, the first of which is expected to be completed in six months, the ESA said. The spacecraft has a mission life expectancy of 15 months, with the data it provides expected to keep both cosmologists and astrophysicists busy for decades....

2009-09-17 08:10:00

Preliminary results from ESA's Planck mission to study the early Universe indicate that the data quality is excellent. This bodes well for the full sky survey that has just begun. Planck started surveying the sky regularly from its vantage point at the second Lagrange point of the Sun-Earth system, L2, on 13 August. The instruments were fine-tuned for optimum performance in the period preceding this date. ESA's Planck microwave observatory is the first European mission designed to study the...

2009-08-18 09:53:47

NASA says its Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer spacecraft called WISE has arrived at its last stop on Earth -- Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif. The space agency said WISE is scheduled to be launched from Vandenberg in December to scan the entire sky at infrared wavelengths, searching for asteroids, stars and galaxies. WISE has arrived and is almost ready to go, said William Irace, the mission's project manager at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif. After we check the...

2009-08-18 07:15:00

NASA's Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer, or WISE, has arrived at its last stop on Earth -- Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif. WISE is scheduled to blast into space in December, aboard a United Launch Alliance Delta II rocket from NASA's Space Launch Complex 2. Orbiting around Earth, it will scan the entire sky at infrared wavelengths, unveiling hundreds of thousands of asteroids, and hundreds of millions of stars and galaxies. The spacecraft arrived at Vandenberg along the central...

2009-07-10 10:45:00

Europe's Herschel space observatory has had incredible results with its first test observation using three of its instruments, which proves it is on its way to becoming one of the most dynamic tools ever created to study the cosmic roots of the world as we know it. While their set-up is not quite complete, the "first light" data demonstrates amazing ability. The telescope first targeted galaxies, star-forming regions and dying stars. They gathered amazing data on the first try, finding...

2009-06-19 10:30:00

Herschel opened its 'eyes' on June 14 and the Photoconductor Array Camera and Spectrometer obtained images of M51, "Ëœthe whirlpool galaxy' for a first test observation. Scientists obtained images in three colors which clearly demonstrate the superiority of Herschel, the largest infrared space telescope ever flown. This image shows the famous "Ëœwhirlpool galaxy', first observed by Charles Messier in 1773, who provided the designation Messier 51 (M51). This spiral...

2009-06-15 08:20:00

Europe's billion dollar Herschel space observatory has accomplished a huge milestone by opening the hatch that has been sheltering its susceptible instruments from contamination. This allowed the light gathered by Herschel's massive mirror to flood the chilled instrument chamber, or cryostat, for the very first time. The observatory's goal is to learn how stars and galaxies are created, and how they develop. The command to release two pyrotechnic bolts attached to the hatch was the biggest...

2009-06-10 15:30:30

NASA's Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer, or WISE, has been assembled and is undergoing final preparations for a planned Nov. 1 launch from Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif. The mission will survey the entire sky at infrared wavelengths, creating a cosmic clearinghouse of hundreds of millions of objects -- everything from the most luminous galaxies, to the nearest stars, to dark and potentially hazardous asteroids. The survey will be the most detailed to date in infrared light, with a...

Word of the Day
  • The navel or umbilicus.
  • In Greek archaeology: A central boss, as on a shield, a bowl, etc.
  • A sacred stone in the temple of Apollo at Delphi, believed by the Greeks to mark the 'navel' or exact center-point of the earth.
'Omphalos' comes from the ancient Greek.