Centrum Badań Kosmicznych PAN

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HIFI (Herschel mission)

The Herschel Space Observatory, the fourth cornerstone mission in the European Space Agency (ESA) science programme, was launched on 14th May 2009 and succesfully operated almost four years. Mission ended when the liquid helium supply was exhausted on 29 April 2013. Herschel carried a 3.5 m diameter telescope (the largest one ever built for a space telescope) and three instruments: two cameras/medium resolution spectrometers (the Photodetector Array Camera and Spectrometer, PACS, and the Spectral and Photometric Imaging Receiver, SPIRE) and a very high resolution heterodyne spectrometer (the Heterodyne Instrument for the Far Infrared, HIFI). The Herschel Space Observatory performed imaging photometry and spectroscopy of objects in space, in the far infrared and submillimetre part of the spectrum, covering approximately the 55 μm – 672 μm range, from nearby in our Solar System to the farthest reaches of the Universe. It was designed to investigate the Universe at sub-millimeter and far-infrared wavelengths. Herschel’s primary areas of investigation:

  • Study the formation of galaxies in the early universe and their subsequent evolution
  • Investigate the creation of stars and their interaction with the interstellar medium
  • Observe the chemical composition of the atmospheres and surfaces of Solar System bodies, including comets, planets and satellites

CBK PAN was responsible for preparing the LCU – the control unit for the Local Oscillator subsystem in HIFI. Scientists from the CBK PAN were engaged in the Guaranteed-Time Key Programme entitled “Water and Related Chemistry in the Solar System”, devoted to studies of planetary and cometary atmospheres.

More about Herschel (external links):

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