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The Herschel-Planck Launch

Updated Wednesday 3rd June 2009

A giant infrared laboratory and a hard look at the dawn of time - and The Open University was involved in both ESA missions. As the Herschel telescope mission reaches its end, take a look back at how it started.

Dr Stephen Serjeant on the OU and Herschel-Plank

Professor Brian Swinyard on the Herschel Telescope

Tom Bradshaw on keeping Planck cool

Find out more

Studying astronomy with The Open University
The Herschel project on the European Space Agency site

The Planck project on the European Space Agency site
The Planetary and Space Science Institute at The Open University

The end of the mission

In April 2013, the Herschel telescope's coolant finally ran out, and it stopped working. [BBC News reports on the end of the mission] But not before capturing some astounding images of the universe - like this one:

Cygnus-X - The Cool Swan Glowing in Flight Copyrighted image Icon Copyright: ESA/PACS/SPIRE/Martin Hennemann & Frédérique Motte, Laboratoire AIM Paris-Saclay, CEA/Irfu – CNRS/INSU – Univ. Paris Diderot, France This new view of the Cygnus-X star-formation region by Herschel highlights chaotic networks of dust and gas that point to sites of massive star formation. The image combines far-infrared data acquired at 70 micron (corresponding to the blue channel); 160 micron (corresponding to the green channel); and 250 micron (corresponding to the red channel). The observations were made on May 24, 2010, and December 18, 2010. North is to the lower-right and east to the upper-right.
 

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