Fr.: Satellite Herschel
A European Space Agency (ESA) mission to perform imaging photometry and spectroscopy in the → far infrared and → submillimeter regions of the electromagnetic spectrum, covering approximately the 55-672 µm range. In fact Herschel is the first space facility dedicated to these wavelength ranges. It carries a 3.5 m diameter passively cooled mirror. The science payload complement - two cameras/medium resolution spectrometers (PACS and SPIRE) and a very high resolution → superheterodyne spectrometer (HIFI) - are housed in a superfluid helium cryostat. Herschel was launched on 14 May 2009, together with the → Planck Satellite. Its observing position lies at the L2 → Lagrangian point, some 1.5 million km from Earth. Herschel is designed, among other things, to study the formation of galaxies in the early Universe, and to investigate the formation of stars and their interaction with the → interstellar medium.