About these images

This showcase website presents images that have been obtained with instruments carried on the European Space Agency’s Herschel Space Observatory. For details of the instrument consortia please see ‘Herschel and its instruments’ below.

The data used to create the images have been provided by the scientists who were awarded observing time with the telescope on the basis of the scientific excellence of their proposals. (See ‘Key Programmes’ below.)

In some cases the images have been treated to remove artefacts and to highlight regions of interest.

Herschel and its instruments

To learn more about the Herschel mission visit the websites listed in the top navigation bar. These websites contain extensive material describing the mission, the spacecraft, telescope and instruments, as well as the science that will be carried out by this ground-breaking mission.

The Herschel Space Observatory is an ESA mission, with science instruments provided by Principal Investigator consortia, open to the entire science community.

SPIRE has been designed and built by a consortium of institutes and university departments from Europe, the USA, Canada, and China under the leadership of Principal Investigator Matt Griffin located at Cardiff University, UK. Consortium members are: UK: Cardiff University, RAL, MSSL-UCL, UKATC, Imperial College London; University of Sussex; France: CEA, OAMP, IAS; Italy: IFSI, University of Padua; Spain: IAC; Sweden: Stockholm Observatory; USA: JPL/Caltech, University of Colorado, NHSC; Canada: University of Lethbridge, Alberta; China: NAOC.

PACS has been designed and built by a consortium of institutes and university departments from across Europe under the leadership of Principal Investigator Albrecht Poglitsch located at the Max-Planck-Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics in Garching, Germany. Consortium members are: Austria: UVIE; Belgium: IMEC, KUL, CSL; France: CEA, OAMP; Germany: MPE, MPIA; Italy: IFSI, OAP/AOT, OAA/CAISMI, LENS, SISSA; Spain: IAC; Hungary: Konkoly; USA: NHSC.

HIFI has been designed and built by a consortium of institutes and university departments from across Europe, Canada and the USA under the leadership of the Netherlands Institute for Space Research (SRON), Groningen, The Netherlands, and with major contributions from Germany, France and the USA. Consortium members are: Canada: CSA, U.Waterloo; France: CESR, LAB, LERMA, IRAM; Germany: KOSMA, MPIfR, MPS; Ireland, NUI Maynooth; Italy: ASI, IFSI-INAF, Osservatorio Astrofisico di Arcetri-INAF; Netherlands: SRON, TUD; Poland: CAMK, CBK; Spain: OAN(IGN), CAB(CSIC-INTA); Sweden: Chalmers University of Technology - MC2, RSS & GARD; OSO; SNSB, Stockholm University - SO; Switzerland: ETH Zurich, FHNW; USA: Caltech, JPL, NHSC.

Key Programmes

Herschel is an observatory, a facility for astronomical research open to the worldwide scientific community. As an infrared observatory its lifetime is limited by the amount of onboard coolant (liquid helium) which is needed to keep the instruments operating in optimum conditions.

Observing time on Herschel is a premium and for this reason the time is awarded only to the best proposals. All of the observing time for the nominal three year mission lifetime has been awarded in the form of Key Programmes, large projects which are devised to address the most important questions in infrared astronomy.