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The last round of Herschel observations.

Submitter: J.B. Raymond Oonk
Description: The European Space Agency "Herschel" satellite was launched on May 14th. in 2009. It has a 3.5 meter mirror and is optimised to inspect the "cool universe" in the far-infrared (55-671 micrometers). These wavelengths are (mostly) unobservable from the ground due to the opacity of our own atmosphere. At these wavelengths we can observe emission from gas and dust with temperatures between a few tenths and a few hundreds of degrees kelvin. Herschel allows astronomers to investigate this cool gas and dust with unprecedented sensitivity and high angular and spectra resolution.

On board are three science instruments: (i) the Photodetector Array Camera and Spectrometer (PACS), (ii) the Spectral and Photometric Imaging Receiver (SPIRE) and (iii) the Heterodyne Instrument for the Far Infrared (HIFI). The Netherlands has been very active in the Herschel mission, both scientifically and technically. An example of this is the succesfull HIFI instrument that was built under the leadership of the The Netherlands Institute for Space Research (SRON).

It is foreseen that Herschel will end its scientific mission during the first half of 2013 as it only carries with it a finite amount of coolant (liquid helium) for its instruments.

The results for the last round of proposals for observations with Herschel were announced on the 2nd. of December 2011. The amount of time had been oversubscribed by a factor of 4, thus resulting in a very competitive round of proposal judging. ASTRON astronomer Raymond Oonk and collaborators were glad to see that their proposal for observing gaseous filaments in a nearby cluster galaxy was accepted. This project is a follow up of a large Herschel Key Program (PI A. Edge) involving a.o. ASTRON astronomers Raymond Oonk and Michael Wise. We look forward to seeing the exciting results of this last round of observations!
Copyright: Image: ESA - Herschel
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