First light from Herschel Space Observatory
Launched earlier this year, the Herschel Space Observatory has successfully conducted the initial tests for three of its instruments, (HIFI, PACS and SPIRE). If all goes as planned, the first scientific results are expected before the end of 2009.
Less than two months after a flawless launch on 14 May, the Herschel Space Observatory has passed a number of key milestones. Amongst these are the ‘first light’ observations obtained by each of the three instruments. The images and spectra clearly demonstrate that the main scientific objectives of the mission – photometric surveys of the galactic and extragalactic sky; detailed studies of the physical and chemical composition of gas, dust and the interstellar medium; spectroscopic and photometric studies of Solar System objects – are on track.