Press and Media

Herschel Press Releases

A Herschel view of the Crab Nebula
The Herschel space observatory has produced an intricate view of the remains of a star that died in a stellar explosion a millennium ago. It has provided further proof that the interstellar dust which lies throughout our Galaxy is created when massive stars reach the end of their lives.

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Click here for images of the Crab Nebula


A Herschel view of 61 Virginis
Europe’s Herschel space observatory has discovered vast dust rings surrounding two nearby planetary systems known to host only relatively small worlds, with masses between Earth and Neptune. The discovery of these comet reservoirs, which could have delivered life-giving oceans to the system’s innermost planets, suggests that debris discs may survive more easily in planetary systems that don’t include massive, Jupiter-like planets.

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Click here for images of 61 Virginis
Click here for images of Gleise 581


A Herschel/Chandra view of Chandra Deep Field North
Astronomers, using the European Space Agency’s (ESA) Herschel Space Observatory, have shown that the number of stars that form during the early lives of galaxies may be influenced by the massive black holes at their hearts. This helps explain the link between the size of the central bulges of galaxies and the mass of their central black holes.

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Click here for images of Chandra Deep Field North


Herschel's view of Fomalhaut
Astronomers using ESA’s Herschel Space Observatory have studied a ring of dust around the nearby star Fomalhaut and have deduced that it is created by the collision of thousands of comets every day.

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Click here for images of Fomalhaut


Centaurus A seen by Herschel and XMM-Newton
Observations by two of the European Space Agency's space observatories have provided a multi-wavelength view of the mysterious galaxy Centaurus A. The new images, from the Herschel Space Observatory and the XMM-Newton x-ray satellite, are revealing further hints about its cannibalistic past and energetic processes going on in its core.

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Click here for images of Centaurus A


The Eagle Nebula as seen by Herschel
The European Space Agency's Herschel Space Observatory has made observations at far infrared wavelengths toward one of the most iconic images in astronomy: the “Pillars of Creation”. The region around the Pillars in the stunning Hubble Space Telescope image of these three towering pillars of gas and dust, originally taken in 1995, has now been re-observed with Herschel. This region in fact is only a small part of the Eagle Nebula, a star formation region which lies 6500 light years away. The new Herschel observations highlight the processes occurring within the pillars, and the locations of stars that are forming throughout the surrounding area.

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Click here for images of the Eagle Nebula


Artist's impression of TW Hydrae
Europe’s Herschel space observatory has detected for the first time cold water vapour enveloping a dusty disk around a young star. The findings suggest that this disk, which is poised to develop into a solar system, contains great quantities of water, suggesting that water-covered planets like Earth may be common in the Universe.

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Click here for images of TW Hydrae


Comet Hartley 2 as measured by Herschel
Europe’s Herschel space observatory has found water in a comet with almost exactly the same composition as Earth’s oceans. The discovery revives the idea that our planet’s seas could once have been giant icebergs floating through space.

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Click here for images of Comet Hartley 2


Distant galaxies observed by Herschel
The Herschel infrared space observatory has discovered that galaxies do not need to collide with each other to drive vigorous star birth. The finding overturns this long-held assumption and paints a more stately picture of how galaxies evolve.

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Click here for images of distant galaxies


A twisted ring in the Galactic Centre as seen by Hershel
Observations with Herschel have revealed unprecedented views of a ring in the centre of our Milky Way galaxy. The ribbon of gas and dust is more than 600 light years across and appears to be twisted, for reasons which have yet to be explained. The origin of the ring could provide insight into the history of the Milky Way.

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Click here for images of the Galactic Centre


Supernova 1987a as seen by the Hubble Space Telescope
Thanks to the resolution and sensitivity of Herschel, astronomers have been able to detect cosmic dust from a supernova, adding weight to the theory that these cosmic fireworks are responsible for its creation. The origin of the dust is important because it plays a crucial role in the formation of stars, particularly billions of years ago when star formation was at its peak. This new result is based on observations of Supernova 1987a, which astronomers saw explode in 1987.

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Click here for images of SN1987a


Uranus as seen by thye SPIRE instrument on Herschel
The Herschel Space Observatory has been observing the sky at infrared wavelengths since shortly after its launch two years ago, on 14th May 2009. But the name Herschel has a much longer legacy than that. The observatory is named after Sir William Herschel, a leading astronomer, for discovering infrared light around two hundred years ago. The Herschel family was a particularly astronomical one, with both his sister, Caroline, and son, John, playing important roles in the history of astronomy.

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Click here for images of Uranus
Click here for images of Comet Hartley 2
Click here for the full press release


The Cocoon Nebula as seen by Herschel
Astronomers using ESA’s Herschel Space Observatory have found that filaments of gas and dust in interstellar clouds have a preferred size, implying that they have formed as a result of interstellar sonic booms travelling through the Galaxy. The filaments are huge, stretching for tens of light years, and Herschel has shown that newly-born stars are found in the densest parts of them. One such filament in the constellation of Aquila contains around 100 infant stars. The very cold gas and dust in interstellar space can only be observed with far-infrared light. While such filaments have been seen before, the high resolution of Herschel has allowed astronomers to measure their widths for the first time.

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Click here for images of the Cocoon Nebula


Simulations of distribution of dark matter clumps
Astronomers have used Europe's Herschel Space Observatory to reveal just how much dark matter it takes to give rise to a galaxy bursting with stars. The findings are a key step in understanding how dark matter – an invisible substance that pervades our Universe – contributed to the birth of massive galaxies in the early Universe.

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Click here for images of the "Lockman Hole"
Click here for the full press release.


The Andromeda Galaxy: a far-infrared and x-ray composite
The World’s largest space telescope, ESA’s Herschel Space Observatory, is celebrating one year of spectacular science. A meeting at the Royal Astronomical Society in London is showcasing some of the latest groundbreaking research.

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Click here for images of the Andromeda Galaxy
Click here for the full press release.


Distant galaxies observed by Herschel, and an artist's impression
A UK-led international team of astronomers have presented the first conclusive evidence for a dramatic surge in star birth in a newly discovered population of massive galaxies in the early Universe. Their measurements confirm the idea that stars formed most rapidly about 11 billion years ago, or about three billion years after the Big Bang, and that the rate of star formation is much faster than was thought.

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Click here for the full press release.


CW Leonis as seen by SPIRE and PACS
A UK-led team using the world's largest space telescope, ESA’s Herschel Space Observatory, have discovered a new way of locating a natural phenomenon that acts like a zoom lens, allowing astronomers to peer at galaxies in the distant and early Universe. The magnification created by this phenomenon allows astronomers to see galaxies otherwise hidden from us, providing key insights into how galaxies have changed over the history of the cosmos.

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Click here for images of cosmic zoom lensesClick here for the full press release.


CW Leonis as seen by SPIRE and PACS
Herschel has discovered that ultraviolet starlight is a key ingredient for making water in the atmosphere of some stars. It is the only explanation for why a dying star is surrounded by a gigantic cloud of hot water vapour.  These new results will be published tomorrow (Sept 2nd) in Nature.
SPIRE image of the gravitational lens Abell 2218
Amazing new data captured by ESA’s Herschel Space Observatory, carrying the largest mirror ever
launched into space, have just been publicly released, allowing the World’s astronomers to share in
the Herschel SPIRE instrument’s observations of distant galaxies. From its vantage point nearly 1.5
million km from Earth (1 million miles), the Herschel spacecraft has given astronomers new insights
into the different types of galaxy in the distant Universe and will allow them to explore part of the
Universe as it was some eleven billion years ago or just 3 billion years after the Big Bang.

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Click here for images of Abell 2218
Click here for the full press release.


SPIRE image of thousands of galaxies in the early Universe
Astronomers using the European Space Agency's Herschel telescope have discovered that the brightest galaxies tend to be in the busiest parts of the Universe. This crucial piece of information will enable theorists to fix up their theories of galaxy formation. For over a decade, astronomers have been puzzled by some strange, bright galaxies in the distant Universe which appear to be forming stars at phenomenal rates. These galaxies are very hard to explain with conventional theories of galaxy formation. One important question has been the environments in which these galaxies are located, such as how close together they are. The Herschel Space Observatory, with its ability for very sensitive mapping over wide areas, has been able to see thousands of these galaxies and identify their location, showing for the first time that these galaxies are packed closely together in the centre of large galaxy clusters.

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Click here for images of the "Lockman Hole"
Click here for the full press release


SPIRE and PACS image of a massive star forming
Scientists working on the Herschel Space Observatory are meeting at the ESA Space Research and Technology Centre (ESTEC) in Noordwijk, Netherlands, to present results from the first few months of Herschel's mission.  New images show thousands of distant galaxies furiously building stars, and beautiful star-forming clouds draped across the Milky Way. One picture even catches an ‘impossible’ star in the act of formation.  The results challenge old ideas of starbirth, and open up new roads for future research.

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Click here for the full press release.


SPIRE and PACS image of starbirth in the constellation of Aquila

A star is born - Europe's Herschel space observatory captures the birth of stars

18 December 2009

The European Space Agency has released a preview of the first science results from the Herschel Space Observatory, including the UK-led SPIRE instrument. The new data which include images of previously invisible stardust - the stuff that all life is made from - will give us valuable new information about how stars and galaxies are made and reveal the life cycle of the cosmos.

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Click here for images
Click here for the full press release


SPIRE spectrum of massive star VY CMa

Herschel takes a peek at the ingredients of the galaxies

27 November 2009

The European Space Agency has today (25th Nov) released spectacular new observations from the Herschel Space Observatory, including the UK-led SPIRE instrument. Spectrometers on board all three Hershel instruments have been used to analyse the light from objects inside our galaxy and from other galaxies, producing some of the best measurements yet of atoms and molecules involved in the birth and death of stars.

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Click here for images of the first spectra
Click here for the full press release


Artist's impression of Herschel

Herschel space observatory at number seven in Time magazine's list of greatest inventions of 2009

20 November 2009

Alongside teleportation and the AIDS vaccine, the Herschel Space Observatory has been voted one of the greatest inventions of 2009 by Time magazine (link opens in a new window).

Herschel is placed at number 7 in the list of 50 inventions, which also includes the Electric Eye and the Personal Carbon Footprint.

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Click here for the full press release


SPIRE and PACS image of region of the Southern Cross

Herschel's cameras combine to show the galaxy in a new light

2 October 2009

The Herschel Space Observatory has produced spectacular new images of interstellar material in our galaxy, using the UK-led SPIRE camera in tandem with Herschel’s other camera, PACS.

The new pictures, made during the first trial run with the two instruments operating at the same time, have unveiled a small part of our Milky Way Galaxy as we have never seen it before, and bode well for one of Herschel’s main scientific projects, which is to survey large areas of the galaxy.

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Click here for images of the Southern Cross
Click here for the full press release


SPIRE image of spiral galaxy M74

Herschel's UK-led SPIRE instrument returns first images

10 July 2009

The UK-led SPIRE instrument on board the Herschel Space Observatory has made its first astronomical observations, with spectacular results. The first SPIRE images, together with first light observations from the other two Herschel instruments, are released today (Friday 10th July) by the European Space Agency (ESA)

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Click here for images of M74
Click here for images of M66
Click here for the full press release


Artist's impression of Herschel

Europe's Herschel and Planck space observatories successfully launched!

14 May 2009

ESA's Herschel and Planck satellites have today (14th May 2009) been successfully launched into space where they will start collecting the most detailed information yet about the birth and evolution of our Universe and its galaxies.

Click here to see a video of the launch
Click here for the full press release


 

For further information, please contact Chris North or use the contact form.

Click Here for the Contact Form

UK Herschel Outreach Officer
 Dr Chris North
School of Physics and Astronomy
Cardiff University
Queen's Buildings
The Parade
Cardiff
CF24 3AA
+44 (0)2920 870537

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