Archive for May 4, 2010

First Science from Herschel

Posted in The Universe and Stuff with tags , , , on May 4, 2010 by telescoper

A comment posted today on a previous item reminded me that this is supposed to be a science blog, so I thought it would be a good idea to put up a brief message about the status of Herschel.

Today is the first day of the Herschel First Results Symposium which is being held on the premises of ESTEC at Noordwijk in The Netherlands; you can see the poster below. There’s quite a strong Cardiff contingent there, and the meeting will go on until Friday, so it’s a going to be a bit quiet around here for the rest of the week.

The results being presented at this Symposium are covered by a strict ESA policy and most of them are embargoed, at least  for the time being. However, you can keep up with the meeting to some extent on Twitter, as I’ve been doing from time to time. Just follow #eslab2010. There are also edited highlights on the Herschel Mission Blog. It’s a bit frustrating only getting the odd snippet, but it does at least give you an idea of what’s going on and a heads-up for things that will be released officially soon.

In fact pretty soon a load of Herschel images and other results will be made public and I’ll be spoilt for choice as to what to post on here. In fact, I think all the presentations at the Symposium will be put online after it’s finished. There’s also going to be a deluge of science papers on the arXiv, the result of a lot of hard work (not to say a total panic) by those directly involved in analysing the first data to come through from the telescope. I’m looking forward to that, although there’s no way I’ll have time to read them all!

It’s hard to believe that it’s just a little under a year since we gathered in a state of nervous tension (moderated by a steady intake of alcohol) to watch the launch of Planck and Herschel. I don’t think I’m giving away any secrets when I write that the mission has been an outstanding success so far, even exceeding its specified performance in some respects.

I’ll be posting some Herschel goodies from time to time once the embargo is lifted, but until that happens you’ll just have to wait. I could tell you more but if I did I’d have to kill you.

PS. To return to my first sentence, I’m not even sure I should call this a science blog. I think of it as a personal blog, written by a person who happens to be a scientist…