Herschel space observatory

Did You Know…

…that ZEISS Is a Star Catcher?

Humans took their first steps on the moon 40 years ago. Since then, many brave astronauts have ventured into the endless vastness of space. Nevertheless, parts of the universe remain undiscovered despite all these years of research. The Herschel space observatory recently started exploring the creation and evolution of galaxies, taking a closer look at interstellar matter. Space travel to these remote regions is greatly limited due to the sheer distances involved.

The Herschel space observatory was launched three months ago and will provide new insights into the heavens over the next four years – 1.5 million kilometers out from the earth! With a 3.5-meter mirror, Herschel is the largest telescope ever in space. It weighs more than three tons and takes razor-sharp images of faraway galaxies. The high quality of the first pictures transmitted to earth triggered a lot of excitement, since this super telescope delivers more detailed and exact photographs than any other observation station. Scientists expect Herschel to provide numerous new and important insights in the field of cosmology — the science of the origin, development and structure of the universe.

ZEISS is helping to better explore these far-off worlds. The experts in Oberkochen are in demand whenever special optics are needed for extraordinary image quality. They equipped Herschel with a high-performance scanner that is the central element in one of the three scientific measuring instruments (PACS). ZEISS provided the secondary mirror for the telescope as well. Scientists can now look forward to the upcoming infrared pictures that Herschel will diligently take in space of stars being born, galaxies, and planetary systems.

28 July 2009