Star formation

Inside our Galaxy, Herschel will:

  • study how stars and planets form. Herschel is unique in its coverage of a wide range of infrared wavelengths, and will look into star-forming regions in our Galaxy, to reveal different stages of early star formation and the youngest stars in our Galaxy for the first time. The telescope will also study circumstellar material around young stars, where astronomers believe that planets are being formed, and debris discs around more mature stars.
  • study the vast reservoirs of dust and gas in our Galaxy.  Herschel will study in detail the physics at work in the giant clouds of gas and dust that give rise to new stars. Herschel is also well-suited to study astrochemistry providing fundamental new insight into the complex chemistry of these molecular clouds, the wombs of future stars.

Below, Professor Derek Ward-Thompson tells an audience about some of the science motivations behind the Herschel mission and discusses the studies which will look at star formation in our Galaxy.