Latest updates – and cryocover opening!

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At 00hrs UT, Herschel was 1.415 million kilometres from Earth and receding at 192m/s (691km/h). Signals now take 4.5s to reach it. In terms of position in the sky, it is about 6 degrees north of the magnitude 4.6 star, 20 Ophiuchi.

You can generate up to date ephemerises at the JPL Horizons web site.

Herschel is in good shape, with its cooler reaching a temperature of 287mK when it is re-cycled. It will get even colder as we approach operational temperature. The next big event is the cryostat lid in a few days – the Herschel UK outreach site gives a nice overview of the timelines for commissioning phase, plus a nice video of the lid release mechanism at work.

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