Subscribe free to our newsletters via your
. 24/7 Space News .

Special Issue Of Astronomy And Astrophysics Dedicated To Herschel's First Results
by Staff Writers
Paris, France (ESA) Jul 19, 2010

A Herschel image of the HII region RCW 120, highlighting the newly detected young stars at the borders of the ionising bubble. The massive protostar, with mass 8-10 times that of the Sun is visible on the lower edge of the bubble, to the right. This colour-composite image combines observations at wavelengths of 100 m (blue; PACS), 160 m (green; PACS) and 250 m (red; SPIRE). Copyright: ESA, PACS and SPIRE Consortia, A. Zavagno (Laboratoire d'Astrophysique de Marseille) for the Herschel HOBYS and Evolution of Interstellar Dust Key Programmes.

The first scientific results obtained with Herschel are appearing, this week, in a special issue of the journal Astronomy and Astrophysics. Based on data collected during the first few months of operations with this ESA observatory, the 152 new publications tackle a multitude of different astrophysical subjects, ranging from nearby Solar System bodies through newly-forming stars in our Galaxy, all the way to very distant galaxies.

These first results provide a clear indication of the profound contribution that this mission will make to astronomy.

It is harvest time for Herschel, ESA's infrared observatory launched just over a year ago, on 14 May 2009. A first batch of papers - 152 in all - are published in this week's special issue of Astronomy and Astrophysics. These are based on data collected during the first few months of scientific observations in late 2009 and early 2010.

Herschel observes the sky in the far-infrared and submillimetre domain of the electromagnetic spectrum, focussing on the emission from cold dust and gas in the interstellar medium (ISM) from two very different perspectives: nearby, within our own Galaxy where specific regions such as those where stars are still in the process of being formed can be studied in great detail; and far away, in very distant galaxies, whose light has been travelling towards us for thousands of millions of years, in some cases for over 10 thousand million years.

"These first, outstanding results cover an extremely rich variety of astronomical topics on all interesting cosmic scales: from objects in our own neighbourhood, the Solar System, to star-forming regions throughout our Milky Way galaxy and farther away, and even to distant galaxies and the very earliest phases of star formation in the Universe," explains Goran Pilbratt, Herschel Project Scientist.

The images and spectra collected by Herschel in this early operational phase are already shedding new light on a number of open questions in astronomy. Peering through the dust with unprecedented sensitivity, Herschel is disclosing previously undetected populations of young stars and protostars in regions of intense stellar formation.

These observations are a key contribution to understanding in great detail the processes that lead to the birth of stars, especially of the most massive ones.

Great emphasis is also placed on the study of the interstellar medium, the mixture of gas and dust in the Milky Way from which stars are born and into which dying stars deposit chemically enriched material. By probing the chemical composition of the ISM to very high precision, Herschel provides astronomers with a brand new vista on the life cycle of matter in our own Galaxy.

From a cosmological perspective, Herschel is surveying the sky to a very great depth, revealing infrared emission from myriad faint and distant galaxies and demonstrating its capability to be a unique tool to probe the evolution of star-forming galaxies over several thousand million years of cosmic history.

The revolutionising impact that Herschel will have on these, and many more topics is clearly evident from the first papers, submitted by the end of March 2010 and collected in this week's special issue of Astronomy and Astrophysics. These first scientific results anticipate a wealth of remarkable results to be achieved during the coming years from this exceptional observatory.

"Albeit already impressive per se, this sample of publications is only the proverbial tip of the iceberg, and we eagerly await the multitude of results yet to come," says Pilbratt. "Thanks to Herschel, we are literally seeing what nobody has seen before," he adds.


Related Links
ESA Herschel
Space Telescope News and Technology at

Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle

Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News

NASA's WISE Mission To Complete Extensive Sky Survey
Pasadena CA (SPX) Jul 19, 2010
NASA's Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer, or WISE, will complete its first survey of the entire sky on July 17, 2010. The mission has generated more than one million images so far, of everything from asteroids to distant galaxies. "Like a globe-trotting shutterbug, WISE has completed a world tour with 1.3 million slides covering the whole sky," said Edward Wright, the principal investiga ... read more

Science Team To Study Data From China's First Lunar Probe

Apollo 16: Footsteps Under High Sun

NASA releases videogame, Moonbase Alpha

Man In The Moon Has 'Graphite Whiskers'

Wind Cleans Solar Panels

Team Shows Unity During First Month Of Mars Flight Simulation

Mars Rover Curiosity Spins Its Wheels

Microsoft And NASA Bring Mars Down To Earth Through The WorldWide Telescope

Space probe gets 'suit' of armor

NASA Needs Total Strategy To Control Costs

United Arab Emirates Movement Into The Private Spaceflight Industry

NASA Announces Three Centennial Challenges

China Contributes To Space-Based Information Access A Lot

China Sends Research Satellite Into Space

China eyes Argentina for space antenna

Seven More For Shenzhou

Apollo-Soyuz: An Orbital Partnership Begins

NASA Selects Student Experiments For Space Station

Russia Eyes Chinese Spaceships As Backup For Soyuz

NASA And Partners Assign Crews For Upcoming ISS Missions

Sea Launch Signs Launch Agreement With AsiaSat

ILS Successfully Launches The Echostar XV

Pre-Launch Processing Underway For Ariane 5's Upcoming Launch

SBSS Launch Delayed

NASA Finds Super-Hot Planet With Unique Comet-Like Tail

Recipes For Renegade Planets

First Directly Imaged Planet Confirmed Around Sun-Like Star

VLT Detects First Superstorm On Exoplanet

iPad and other gadgets drain Asia of electronic components

Art In Space - Or, How To Set Up A Formation

Tokyo trials digital billboards that scan passers-by

Japan's Sharp to release biggest-capacity disc

The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2014 - Space Media Network. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement