ESA title
Science & Exploration

Herschel highlights

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ESA / Science & Exploration / Space Science / Herschel


  • Carrying the largest telescope ever flown in space, with a primary mirror 3.5 m in diameter.


  • The first space observatory to observe the entire range of wavebands from the far-infrared to submillimetre.


  • The highest sensitivity in its wavelength range.


  • Covering unexploited infrared wavelengths that are allowing it to see celestial objects no other telescope has seen.


  • Featuring the highest-ever resolution in the far infrared: it is seeing detail never seen before.


  • The first observatory capable of studying the earliest stages of star formation.


  • Herschel is taking the first census of star-forming galaxies throughout the Universe at the peak of star formation, allowing astronomers to chart the star formation history and evolution of galaxies in the Universe.


  • The first observatory to take a census of ongoing star formation in our galactic neighbourhood .


  • The most powerful tool to search for water throughout our Galaxy.

Space-based observations have never been performed in Herschel's main observing band, enlarging the mission's potential. Given these unprecedented observing capabilities, the mission has tremendous chances for discovery. As it opens new windows onto the Universe, it is probable that Herschel will discover the unanticipated.

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