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ESA's 'Herschel Space Observatory' will find out the nature of the first galaxies.How much energy has been released throughout the history of the Universe? As surprising as it may seem, astronomers can deduce that value. Most of the energy is 'locked' in a faint 'glow' that fills the whole universe, and is the remnant of all the energy emitted in the remote past by the first galaxies. That glow, called the 'infrared background radiation', was first detected a few years ago. Now the big question for astronomers is: 'what' were the sources that created the glow? No telescope so far has been able to 'pinpoint' those primeval galaxies to say what they were. ESA's next infrared space telescope, FIRST, is the only instrument able to do the job, as concluded yesterday by astronomers gathered in Toledo (Spain).
Published: 13 December 2000
On the 200th anniversary of the discovery of infrared light by William Herschel, ESA's Far Infrared and Submillimetre Telescope, FIRST, will be re-named the 'Herschel Space Observatory'. This was announced this morning by ESA's Director of Science, Roger Bonnet, during the opening of the FIRST conference in Toledo, Spain. The Anglo-German astronomer William Herschel discovered infrared light 200 years ago, thanks to which astronomers can now observe a facet of the Universe that otherwise remains hidden.
Published: 11 December 2000
200 astronomers gather in Toledo, Spain, to set the scientific agendafor ESA's next infrared space telescope
Published: 5 December 2000
For current astronomers, the 'darkest' epoch of the universe is the time when the first galaxies started to form and evolve: no instrument today can peer into that era. Unveiling it will be the task of the next giant space-and ground-based telescopes, which will provide different pieces of information to complete the jigsaw at last. As astronomers explained last week in Munich at the conference 'Astronomical Telescopes and Instruments 2000', ESA's space telescope FIRST will take the lead in this task, unveiling the galactic collisions that produced the first stellar 'baby boom' in the history of the Universe. NGST, a mission currently under study by several spaces agencies, will follow two years later.
Published: 5 April 2000
Imagine you make a large and thin surface out of a special material, and then you polish it to make it so uniform that its 'bumps' are lower than one thousandth of a millimetre. Now guess: would your smooth surface survive if you put it under a load fifteen times that of the usual gravity on Earth? And what if you then made it endure a quick, sharp change in temperature of hundreds of degrees?
Published: 1 June 1999
The three instruments on board ESA's space observatory FIRST (the Far InfraRed and Submillimetre Telescope), due to be launched in 2007, were formally approved on 17 February by ESA's Science Programme Committee (SPC). As proposed by the scientific community in February last year, FIRST's payload will consist of two cameras and a high-resolution spectrometer.
Published: 10 March 1999
The European Space Agency investigates two technologies to choose the main eye of its next infrared space telescope, FIRST.
Published: 4 January 1999
On 3 July the ESA Executive, the FIRST and Planck Principal Investigators (PIs), and the SPCdelegations met in ESA HQ. This was the first opportunity after the May SPC meeting to discuss sciencepayload and ground segment issues in the light of the decisions taken in that SPC meeting and therecommendations given by the FIRST and Planck science (instrument proposal) evaluation committees.
Published: 15 July 1998
Following the ESA's Science Programme (SPC) meeting of 28/29 May "the coupled FIRST/Planck missions will now enter a detailed study phase, encompassing the selected instruments, with the objective of refining a joint mission scenario within reach of a stringent target cost", states Brian Taylor, Head of the Astrophysics Division of the Space Science Department of ESA, in ESA's Astronews No. 35.
Published: 25 June 1998
In its meeting on 28-29 May 1998 the ESA Science Programme Committee (SPC) approved the FIRST/Planck mission for implementation, with a target launch date of 2007.
Published: 4 June 1998
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25-Jul-2024 00:04 UT

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