The Herschel science payload comprises three instruments that perform a combination of spectrometry, imaging spectrometry and imaging photometry covering a wavelength range from 55 to 672 µm.
Herschel's primary objectives are to:
With its ability to observe across the far infrared and sub-millimetre wavelengths, Herschel furnishes observation data that has previously been unobtainable.
The instruments have been provided by collaborative efforts between scientific institutes in ESA member states, Canada and the USA. Principal Investigators in different countries led the nationally funded collaborations during the development of the respective instruments, and continue to lead the instrument consortia during the operational phase of the mission.
The instrument payload has been conceived and optimised with the prime science goals in mind, but in addition it offers a wide range of capabilities for the general observer.