Since launch Herschel and its instruments have been going through a testing phase known as Commissioning. Essentially this means making sure everything still works after launch and making sure the whole system works as a whole. The next phase, called Performance Verification consists of much more detailed testing and calibration of the instruments to get them working at optimal performance and to establish all the calibration data needed for full scientific use.
Yesterday there was a review of all three instruments to determine their readiness to move from Commissioning Phase to Performance Verification Phase.
All three are ready to go, which places us one important step closer to real science with Herschel! I’m sure you’ll join me in congratulating the instrument teams on completing this phase successfully!