Herschel and Planck launch party!

The Herschel and Planck telescopes were blasted into space, and at Cardiff, nerves were taking over during the launch live feed. Staff from the University, local media and guests including the Welsh Assemby First Minister, Rhodri Morgan, gathered at the launch event in the School of Physics and Astronomy to watch events unfold.  Thirty minutes after lift-off, the crowd clapped and cheered when Herschel and Planck separated and started to make their journey to the L2 point, and later celebrated by sipping some Herschel wine (specially commissioned by ESA for the occasion).

The entire launch sequence went very smoothly to the relief of international team of scientists and engineers who have all put so much work into it.

Below are some photographs taken at the launch party.  From left to right: Prof Walter Gear (head of the School of Physics and Astronomy), Rhodri Morgan (Goverment First Minister), Dr Pete Hargrave and Prof Derek Jones (Vice Chancellor's representative) applaud as news comes through of the successful separation of the Ariane-5 launcher.  Dr Jon Davies and Prof Steve Eales pose in front of a 1:10 scale model of Herschel.  Dr Pete Hargrave entertains the crowd before the countdown begins. 

Check out the BBC news article about the Cardiff launch event here.