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Space Science

The Herschel Telescope Close To Blast Off 136

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the high-tech-to-the-lowest-bid dept.
pha7boy writes "The Herschel space observatory, the European Space Agency's answer to the Hubble Telescope, is about to be sent into orbit. With a mirror 1.5 times the size of the Hubble mirror, the Herschel will look at the universe in the infrared and sub-millimeter range. This 'will permit Herschel to see past the dust that scatters Hubble's visible wavelengths, and to gaze at really cold places and objects in the Universe — from the birthing clouds of new stars to the icy comets that live far out in the Solar System.'"
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The Herschel Telescope Close To Blast Off

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  • Re:Cant wait (Score:3, Insightful)

    by von_rick (944421) on Monday February 09, 2009 @03:50PM (#26789579) Homepage
    A lot of progress has taken place in the the field of optics, electronics, cryogenics, material science and communications. Given the additional 1m on the reflector, it'd be safe to assume a far better performance than Hubble.
  • Infrared? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by oneiros27 (46144) on Monday February 09, 2009 @03:52PM (#26789595) Homepage

    If it's in infrared, then it's NOT a Hubble replacement, it's a Spitzer [nasa.gov] replacement.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 09, 2009 @04:22PM (#26790023)

    Because the radiation emitted by stars isn't just visible light. There's all sorts of EM waves being transmitted. By gathering a range of EM waves, instead of just visible light, we can gather information, which is critical when you think of the tiny numbers of photons we receive from these distant stars.

  • by mjaga (974040) on Monday February 09, 2009 @04:32PM (#26790205)
    It's because it makes sense to use space telescopes to look at radiation that can't be observed with ground based telescopes, because the Earth's atmosphere absorbs all of it. Herschel with its three instruments (HIFI, PACS and SPIRE) operates in the submm and far infrared, a part of the spectrum inaccessible from ground, and will spend a lot of observing time e.g. to look at interstellar water, a molecule believed to play an important role for the cooling of star forming clouds.

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