Long-awaited review reveals journey of water from interstellar clouds to habitable worlds
News Release • April 9, 2021
Dutch astronomer Ewine van Dishoeck (Leiden University, the Netherlands), together with an international team of colleagues, has written an overview of everything we know about water in interstellar clouds thanks to the Herschel space observatory.
Multi-Wavelength View of a Supernova Remnant
News Release • January 7, 2019
New Year's Eve may be past, but we are not done with fireworks just yet. This image, which includes data from ESA's Herschel Space Observatory, shows the remnants of an explosion – not of the colorful type ignited during celebrations, but of the stellar kind.
Science Data, Discoveries and People: Legacy of the Herschel Space Observatory
News Release • September 21, 2017
The Herschel mission, a trailblazing space observatory that provided a unique view of our cosmos during its almost four years of operations, leaves a legacy of treasured data, thousands of scientific papers, as well as a new generation of astronomers who cut their professional teeth on this remarkable endeavour.
Herschel's Chronicles of Galaxy Evolution
News Release • September 20, 2017
Delving deep into the history of our cosmos, the Herschel Space Observatory scrutinised hundreds of thousands of star-forming galaxies, peering back in time to when the Universe was less than one billion years old. These observations probed the peak epoch of stellar production, about ten billion years ago, when galaxies were forming stars roughly ten times faster than their present counterparts.
The Cosmic Water Trail Uncovered by Herschel
News Release • September 19, 2017
During almost four years of observing the cosmos, the Herschel Space Observatory traced out the presence of water. With its unprecedented sensitivity and spectral resolution at key wavelengths, Herschel revealed this crucial molecule in star-forming molecular clouds, detected it for the first time in the seeds of future stars and planets, and identified the delivery of water from interplanetary debris to planets in our Solar System.
How Herschel Unlocked the Secrets of Star Formation
News Release • September 18, 2017
Surveying the sky for almost four years to observe the glow of cold cosmic dust embedded in interstellar clouds of gas, the Herschel Space Observatory has provided astronomers with an unprecedented glimpse into the stellar cradles of our Galaxy. As a result, giant strides have been taken in our understanding of the physical processes that lead to the birth of stars and their planetary systems.
New Catalogues for Herschel Legacy Archive
News Release • June 20, 2017
Two new catalogues, based on data from ESA's Herschel Space Observatory, have been released to the scientific community. The point source catalogues are examples of a new type of data product from two of Herschel’s instruments, SPIRE and PACS.
Building Blocks of Life's Building Blocks Come From Starlight
Feature • October 12, 2016
Life exists in a myriad of wondrous forms, but if you break any organism down to its most basic parts, it's all the same stuff: carbon atoms connected to hydrogen, oxygen, nitrogen and other elements. But how these fundamental substances are created in space has been a longstanding mystery.
NASA Team Probes Peculiar Age-Defying Star
Feature • August 29, 2016
For years, astronomers have puzzled over a massive star lodged deep in the Milky Way that shows conflicting signs of being extremely old and extremely young. Researchers initially classified the star as elderly, perhaps a red supergiant. But a new study by a NASA-led team of researchers suggests that the object, labeled IRAS 19312+1950, might be something quite different -- a protostar, a star still in the making.
New Herschel Maps and Catalogues Reveal Stellar Nurseries Across the Galactic Plane
News Release • April 22, 2016
ESA's Herschel mission releases today a series of unprecedented maps of star-forming hubs in the plane of our Milky Way galaxy. This is accompanied by a set of catalogues listing hundreds of thousands of compact sources that span all phases leading to the birth of stars in our Galaxy.
Our Sun Came Late to the Milky Way's Star-Birth Party
Feature • April 9, 2015
Our Sun missed the stellar "baby boom" that erupted in our young Milky Way galaxy 10 billion years ago. During that time the Milky Way was churning out stars 30 times faster than it does today. Our galaxy was ablaze with a firestorm of star birth as its rich reservoir of hydrogen gas compressed under gravity, creating myriad stars. But our Sun was not one of them. It was a late "boomer," arising 5 billion years later, when star birth had plunged to a trickle.
Suzaku, Herschel Link a Black Hole 'Wind' to a Galactic Gush of Star-forming Gas
News Release • March 25, 2015
By combining observations from the Japan-led Suzaku X-ray satellite and the European Space Agency's infrared Herschel Space Observatory, scientists have connected a fierce "wind" produced near a galaxy's monster black hole to an outward torrent of cold gas a thousand light-years across.
Herschel’s view of the early Universe reveals galaxy cluster fireworks
News Release • December 18, 2014
Astronomers using ESA’s Herschel space observatory have found, for the first time, fireworks of star birth within galaxies at the dense core of a massive early Universe galaxy cluster. This frenzy of star formation reveals the young lives of now “red and dead” elliptical galaxies and gives new clues to the evolution of some of the largest structures in the Universe.
NASA Telescopes Uncover Early Construction of Giant Galaxy
News Release • August 27, 2014
Astronomers have for the first time caught a glimpse of the earliest stages of massive galaxy construction. The building site, dubbed "Sparky," is a dense galactic core blazing with the light of millions of newborn stars that are forming at a ferocious rate.
New Molecules Around Old Stars
External • June 17, 2014
Astronomers have discovered that a molecule vital for creating water exists in the burning embers of dying Sun-like stars. When low- to middleweight stars like our Sun approach the end of their lives, they eventually become dense, white dwarf stars. In doing so, they cast off their outer layers of dust and gas into space, creating a kaleidoscope of intricate patterns known as planetary nebulas.
Herschel Sees Budding Stars and a Giant, Strange Ring
News Release • June 12, 2014
The Herschel Space Observatory has uncovered a weird ring of dusty material while obtaining one of the sharpest scans to date of a huge cloud of gas and dust, called NGC 7538. The observations have revealed numerous clumps of material, a baker's dozen of which may evolve into the most powerful kinds of stars in the universe.
Herschel Uncovers a Dearth of Oxygen near a New Star
Feature • June 9, 2014
A cosmic mystery regarding oxygen has deepened, thanks to new findings from the Herschel Space Observatory, a European Space Agency mission with important NASA contributions. Observations of a newly forming star have revealed strangely low levels of molecular oxygen, the kind we breathe, in the emerging star's gassy, dusty environment.
NASA and ESA Telescopes Help Solve Mystery of Ultra-Compact, Burned-Out Galaxies
News Release • January 22, 2014
Astronomers using NASA's Hubble and Spitzer Space Telescopes, Europe's Herschel Space Observatory, and many ground-based telescopes have pieced together the evolutionary sequence of compact elliptical galaxies that erupted and burned out early in the history of the universe.
SPIRE Instrument Wins Sir Arthur Clarke Award
External • July 18, 2013
The team behind Herschel's SPIRE instrument has been awarded the 2013 Sir Arthur Clarke Award for academic study and research. The award is in recognition of the scientific achievements of the SPIRE instrument, which was designed, built and operated by an international team of astronomers, scientists and engineers.
Seeing Snow in Space
External • July 18, 2013
Although it might seem counterintuitive, if you get far enough away from a smoldering young star, you can actually find snow lines—frosty regions where gases are able to freeze and coat dust grains. Astronomers believe that these snow lines are critical to the process of planet formation.
Herschel Completes Its 'Cool' Journey In Space
News Release • April 29, 2013
Herschel has produced an intricate view of the remains of a star that died in a stellar explosion a millennium ago. It has provided further proof that the interstellar dust which lies throughout our Galaxy is created when massive stars reach the end of their lives.
Herschel to Complete Its Mission Soon
News Release • March 5, 2013
The Herschel space observatory is expected to exhaust its supply of liquid helium coolant in the coming weeks, after spending more than three years studying the cool universe and surpassing the expectations of the international team of scientists involved.
A Cool Discovery About the Sun's Next-door Twin
Feature • February 20, 2013
The Herschel Space Observatory has detected a cool layer in the atmosphere of Alpha Centauri A, the first time this has been seen in a star beyond our own Sun. The finding is not only important for understanding the Sun's activity, but could also help in the quest to discover proto-planetary systems around other stars.
Herschel Finds Star Past its Prime Possibly Making Planets
News Release • January 30, 2013
A star thought to have passed the age at which it can form planets may, in fact, be creating new worlds. The disk of material surrounding the surprising star called TW Hydrae may be massive enough to make even more planets than we have in our own solar system.
NASA, ESA Telescopes Find Evidence For Asteroid Belt Around Vega
News Release • January 8, 2013
Astronomers have discovered what appears to be a large asteroid belt around the star Vega, the second brightest star in northern night skies. The scientists used data from NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope and the European Space Agency's Herschel Space Observatory, in which NASA plays an important role.