And HIFI makes three!

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As well as the first light images from PACS and SPIRE, HIFI, the high resolution spectrometer on Herschel, also released its first light spectra last week.

HIFI First Light Spectra

This shows lines from ionized carbon, CO and water molecules within the cloud. These lines are totally inaccessible from beneath the Earth’s atmosphere so there have been few studies of them until now. The broad Carbon line at the position of a young, forming star shows the effects of the powerful winds streaming from the star’s surface. To be able to produce spectra so good from an instrument that has yet to be tuned and optimized is quite an achievement!

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