Launched in May 2009, the European Space Agency's Herschel Space Observatory has the largest single mirror ever built for a space telescope. At 3.5-metres in diameter the mirror collects long-wavelength radiation from some of the coldest and most distant objects in the Universe. In addition, Herschel is the only space observatory to cover a spectral range from the far infrared to sub-millimetre.
Herschel is equipped with three instruments: two cameras and a very high resolution spectrometer, enable it to study the formation of galaxies in the early universe and their subsequent evolution; investigate the creation and evolution of stars and planetary systems and examine the molecular chemistry of the universe.
Imperial College London
STFC Rutherford Appleton Laboratory
STFC UK Astronomy Technology Centre
Last updated: 08 June 2017