Herschel's first glimpse of the Universe
The PACS team at MPE is all excited: After the successful opening of the satellite's cryostat lid on Sunday, June 14, the instruments on board had their first view of the Universe. Against all odds, the Photodetector Array Camera and Spectrometer (PACS) was immediately able to capture some images, which far exceeded all our expectations. They already demonstrated - at this early phase of the mission - the superiority of Herschel, the largest infrared space telescope.
Far-infrared colour image of the "Whirlpool Galaxy" M51. Red, green and blue colours in this image correspond to the 160 microns, 100microns and 70microns wavelength bands of the Herschel/PACS instrument. At these wavelengths we see the glowing light from clouds of dust around and between the stars. These clouds provide the reservoir of raw materials for the ongoing star formation in this galaxy. Blue colours indicate regions of warm dust that is heated by nearby young stars, while the colder dust in other parts of M51 shows up in red.
(klick on the image for full resolution)
MPG Press Release
ESA's Herschel web site
Dr. Albrecht Poglitsch
Max-Planck-Institut für extraterrestrische Physik
Tel.: +49 89 30000-3293
Dr. Mona Clerico
Max Planck Institute for Astrophysics
and Max Planck Institute for extraterrestrial Physics
Phone: +49 89 30000-3980