Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Herschel Space Telescope's SPIRE instrument package makes first-light observations

A scientific instrument package developed in part by the University of Colorado at Boulder for the $2.2 billion orbiting Herschel Space Observatory that was launched in May by the European Space Agency has made its first successful observations, targeting two star-forming galaxies near the Milky Way.

Sporting a 3.5-meter mirror, the Herschel Space Observatory is the largest space telescope ever built and flown. Herschel is about one-and-one-half times the diameter of the Hubble Space Telescope.

The instrument package aboard Herschel that was used for the observations is known as the Spectral and Photometric Imaging Receiver, or SPIRE, said CU-Boulder astrophysical and planetary sciences Associate Professor Jason Glenn, a co-investigator on the SPIRE experiment. CU-Boulder will have received nearly $2 million from NASA for the combined support of SPIRE instrument development and science data analysis during the lifetime of the project, said Glenn.

"We are very excited about the first images, which we think are spectacular," said Glenn, also a fellow at CU-Boulder's Center for Astrophysics and Space Astronomy.

Designed to look for emissions from clouds of dust linked to star-forming regions in the Milky Way and other galaxies, SPIRE imaged two galaxies, known as M66 and M74, on June 24. M66 is a barred spiral galaxy -- a galaxy with a bar-shaped center like our own Milky Way -- that is located about 35 million light-years from Earth in the constellation Leo. M74 is a face-on spiral galaxy with well-defined spiral arms located about 30 million light-years from Earth in the constellation Pisces. One light year is the distance light travels in a year -- roughly 6 trillion miles.

Herschel is the first space observatory to make high-resolution images in the sub-millimeter wavelengths, which are longer than visible and infrared light waves but shorter than radio waves, said Glenn. The orbiting telescope will observe the birth and development of galaxies back in time to the early universe some 14 billion years ago.

The SPIRE team will study the physical and chemical processes that take place in the interstellar medium to learn more about how stars are formed from molecular clouds, Glenn said.

The "first-light" SPIRE images are available at For more information on the Herschel Space Telescope visit

Jason Glenn | EurekAlert!
Further information:

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht First results of NSTX-U research operations
26.10.2016 | DOE/Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory

nachricht Scientists discover particles similar to Majorana fermions
25.10.2016 | Chinese Academy of Sciences Headquarters

All articles from Physics and Astronomy >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Etching Microstructures with Lasers

Ultrafast lasers have introduced new possibilities in engraving ultrafine structures, and scientists are now also investigating how to use them to etch microstructures into thin glass. There are possible applications in analytics (lab on a chip) and especially in electronics and the consumer sector, where great interest has been shown.

This new method was born of a surprising phenomenon: irradiating glass in a particular way with an ultrafast laser has the effect of making the glass up to a...

Im Focus: Light-driven atomic rotations excite magnetic waves

Terahertz excitation of selected crystal vibrations leads to an effective magnetic field that drives coherent spin motion

Controlling functional properties by light is one of the grand goals in modern condensed matter physics and materials science. A new study now demonstrates how...

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

Im Focus: Diamonds aren't forever: Sandia, Harvard team create first quantum computer bridge

By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.

"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

Greater Range and Longer Lifetime

26.10.2016 | Power and Electrical Engineering

VDI presents International Bionic Award of the Schauenburg Foundation

26.10.2016 | Awards Funding

3-D-printed magnets

26.10.2016 | Power and Electrical Engineering

More VideoLinks >>>