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Herschel and its legacy

Herschel and its legacy

Date: 29 November 2017
Copyright: ESA - European Space Agency

The teams involved in ESA's Herschel space observatory reflect on the mission and its legacy.

Herschel launched in May 2009 and studied the cool Universe in infrared and sub-millimetre wavelengths for nearly four years. Highlights included surveying the glow of cold cosmic dust embedded in interstellar clouds of gas to unlock the secrets of star formation, and peering back in time to when the Universe was less than one billion years old to study galaxy evolution. The observatory also traced out the presence of water in star-forming clouds, detected it for the first time in the seeds of future stars and planets, and identified the delivery of water from interplanetary debris to planets in our Solar System.

Although the Herschel mission has now reached retirement, its legacy continues and it will remain a primary reference for astronomers for many years to come.

For more videos and articles celebrating the achievements and legacy of Herschel visit

Last Update: 1 September 2019
25-Jun-2024 14:30 UT

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