Herschel is gently moving from performance verification phase to normal operations via the Science Demonstration phase. Currently various short observations are being made. These have all been offered by the large, Key Programme teams, and represent a the full range of possible observing modes. The idea is to get a set of initial scientific observations to make sure that the whole system is performing well and to get a flavour of the science results that will come from the longer mission.
This is all going rather nicely and it’s already clear that some excellent results are coming. Unfortunately these are all embargoed until ESA has a big meeting in the middle of December to make the first announcement of Herschel science results.
I can nevertheless tell you that good stuff is on its way.
In the meantime those of you in London might like to know about the next if Imperial College’s Great Debates. The subject this time is ‘Human Spaceflight: Science or Spectacle?” with your humble correspondent arguing for ‘spectacle’.
Details can be found here.