Posts Tagged ‘PACS’

Herschel instruments ready for PV!

July 8, 2009

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!


First Light Images!

June 19, 2009

The PACS instrument on Herschel has taken the observatory’s first images, of the galaxy M51, and they’ve just been released.

Here’s a three colour image at the PACS wavelengths (70, 100 and 160 microns):

PACS images of M51 in the far-IR

PACS images of M51 in the far-IR

You can find more imaformation and more images at the ESA Website.

The telescope and instrument have yet to be fully tuned, but these images are already spectacularly good. Herschel is going to be doing great science!

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I have seen the future…

June 17, 2009

Just got a glimpse of the PACS first light image, and it’s most impressive!

I could tell you more, but then I’d have to kill you, but it should go down very well on Friday at the Paris Air Show.

Hot off the presses… First Light!

June 16, 2009

PACS has seen first light, taking an image of the galaxy M51. I’ve not seen the image yet, it should be made public on Friday and I’m not allowed to see it before that, but the word is that it looks good, and the fast processed image is at least as good as the best images from Spitzer of this object.

Not bad for a first blind ‘point and shoot’!

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May 29, 2009

Things have been a bit quiet for us over the last few days as the other two Herschel instruments, PACS and HIFI, have their first tests. Things are going well with them so far, as far as we’ve heard, and SPIRE will be back to bat soon!

And all the time Herschel is getting further away from us and closer to its destination at L2.