Herschel is an ESA cornerstone mission planned as a Space Observatory covering from the far infrared to sub-millimetre spectral domain.
With a 3.5-metres primary mirror, Herschel is the largest telescope ever launched and it hosts three scientific instruments on the focal plane (PACS, SPIRE and HIFI) capable of performing spectroscopy and photometry in the 55-670 µm range.
Herschel is designed to observe the coldest regions in the Universe, providing a new contribution to the understanding of the evolution of the Universe. Herschel pursues the following key scientific objectives:
- investigate the formation and the evolution of stars, stellar systems and planetary systems;
- study the formation of early epoch galaxies and their subsequent evolution;
- elucidate the interaction between successive generations of stars and the interstellar medium;
- unveil the chemical properties of the interstellar medium as well as of planets, comets and asteroids.
and their subsequent evolution.
It will look deep in the molecular clouds, investigating the star formation processes, their interaction with the interstellar medium, and the evolution of stars and their planetary sistems.
It will help to reveal the chemical composition of the atmospheres and surfaces of planets and, in general, the chemistry of the interstellar medium.
Look at Herschel Mission Overview and Key Programmes presentation
For a spreading of the Herschel Mission see the brochure