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Space Science

First Light Images From Herschel Satellite Released 35

Posted by Soulskill
from the pretty-pictures dept.
davecl writes "The first images from the Herschel satellite have been released by ESA. The images are of the galaxy M51 and show a lot of structure and other features never seen before. Coverage of these results can be found on the ESA website and on the Herschel mission blog. There's a lot of work still to be done on tuning the satellite and instruments for optimum performance, but these very early results already show the promise of this mission. I work on this project and can say that these results are really impressive at this early stage!"
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First Light Images From Herschel Satellite Released

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  • first image (Score:3, Interesting)

    by buchner.johannes (1139593) on Saturday June 20, 2009 @10:15AM (#28401585) Homepage Journal

    Does the image taken of the ocean right after launch not count? Can anyone dig it up?

  • pretty amazing (Score:5, Interesting)

    by ogre7299 (229737) <jjtobin@umich . e du> on Saturday June 20, 2009 @10:21AM (#28401619)

    Considering that this image was taken while the main mirrors were still quite warm and not down to operating temperatures, this observatory is going to do great things once fully operational.

  • by tjstork (137384) <todd...bandrowsky@@@gmail...com> on Saturday June 20, 2009 @10:51AM (#28401857) Homepage Journal

    I work on this project and can say that these results are really impressive at this early stage!"

    Actually, we find your work to be subpar. Perhaps if you were not posting on slashdot, this telescope would not be the failed lemon that it is. Get back to work, and let's not hear back from you until we have some surface detail of Pluto.

    • Your efforts to be a dick have been well above par, keep it up and you may get promoted to cunt.
  • by Alain Williams (2972) <addw@phcomp.co.uk> on Saturday June 20, 2009 @10:53AM (#28401875) Homepage

    I work on this project and can say that these results are really impressive at this early stage!

    Nice to see that at least one slashdot reader really is a rocket scientist!

  • so whats the resolution on this thing gonna be compared to hubble, regardless of the wavelength.
    • Re:comparisons (Score:5, Interesting)

      by ogre7299 (229737) <jjtobin@umich . e du> on Saturday June 20, 2009 @11:11AM (#28401995)

      The best theoretical resolution at 100 microns will be 7.2 arcseconds, limited by the size of the main mirror. Hubble can do 0.05 arcseconds at 0.5 microns (visible light). This may not seem all that impressive, but it about 4 times better than previous far-infrared observatories. And the instruments on-board are significantly more advanced than anything ever used for far-infrared astronomy.

  • by electrostatic (1185487) on Saturday June 20, 2009 @03:08PM (#28403629)
    Herschel views in far infrared -- 70 to 160 um (micrometers) in TFA example. Here's a Hubble M51 shot in visible light which is sub-micron wavelength. The shorter wavelength permits greater resolution for a given mirror size.

    http://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap080614.html [nasa.gov]
  • Spin rate... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by AscianBound (1359727)
    Though I've looked around a bit, nobody seems to have pointed out something that appears quite interesting in those pictures. The two arms of the galaxy take a sharp turn at mirror points. This seems to imply that the speed of rotation of the galaxy increased significantly suddenly. I'm no astronomer, but this seems important. Does anyone who knows more than me care to shed some light on the matter?
    • by pjotrb123 (685993)
      > Does anyone ... care to shed some light on the matter

      I'm doing that right now. Hope my batteries will keep up. Hard to keep it pointed in the right direction too. And since M51 is 31 million light-years distant, I am not sure we will be here to see the reflection when it hits us in 62 million years.
  • There's a lot of work still to be done on tuning the satellite and instruments for optimum performance

    What does tuning involve?

    • by davecl (233127)

      Bias settings for the detectors, calibration, temperatures for the various cooling elements... There's a whole lot of things that need to be sorted out in the commissioning and 'performance verification' phases, and this is what we're spending the time between now and the first full-scale science observations in mid-October.

  • Yes, pretty, because each new pixel added brings the human race more knowledge about the rest of the universe. But we need to put telescopes farther from Earth, such as above and below the elliptic plane of the solar system and far enough away so that the parallax is better than we get with that of the earth's orbit. Being further away from the Sun would also lower the temperature and noise floor, bringing increased sensitivity.

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