Photos: Herschel Space Observatory's Amazing Infrared Images

Herschel Space Observatory and Vela C

ESA/PACS & SPIRE Consortia, T. Hill, F. Motte, Laboratoire AIM Paris-Saclay, CEA/IRFU – CNRS/INSU – Uni. Paris Diderot, HOBYS Key Programme Consortium

This artist's illustration shows the European Space Agency's infrared Herschel Space Obsevatory set against a background image of the Vela C star-forming region. The space telescope launched in 2009 and ended its mission in 2013. See amazing photos and images from the Herschel Space Observatory's prolific mission to observe the universe.

Herschel Reference Survey

ESA/Herschel/HRS-SAG2 and HeViCS Key Programmes/Sloan Digital Sky Survey/ L. Cortese (Swinburne University)

A sample of galaxies studied by the ESA's Herschel space observatory. Images on the left are shown in the infrared and submillimeter wavelengths. Images on the right, taken by the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS) show the galaxies in visible wavelengths. [Read the Full Story Behind This Photo]

Herschel Survey in Visible Light

Sloan Digital Sky Survey/L. Cortese (Swinburne University)

Collage of galaxies included in the Herschel Reference Survey as seen at visible wavelengths in images obtained by the Sloan Digital Sky Survey. [Read the Full Story Behind This Photo]

Herschel Survey in Infrared

ESA/Herschel/HRS-SAG2 and HeViCS Key Programmes/L. Cortese (Swinburne University)

Collage of galaxies included in the Herschel Reference Survey, the largest census of cosmic dust in the local Universe. [Read the Full Story Behind This Photo]

Herschel Observatory - Molecular Gas Outflows

ESA/AOES Medialab

An artist's impression showing a galaxy with a molecular outflow. Herschel Space Observatory's detection of outflows powerful enough to strip galaxies of their molecular gas reservoir represents solid evidence in support of the merger-driven scenario for the formation of elliptical galaxies.

A Cradle of Stars

ESA and SPIRE & PACS consortia, Ph. André (CEA Saclay) for Gould’s Belt Key Programme Consortia

Six hundred newly forming stars are crowded into intricate filaments of gas and dust that makes up this stellar nursery, seen for the first time by ESA’s Herschel space observatory.

Orion Nebula Seen by Herschel and Spitzer


This new view of the Orion Nebula shows embryonic stars within extensive gas and dust clouds. Combining far-infrared observations from the Herschel Space Observatory and mid-infrared observations from NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope, the image shows newly forming stars surrounded by remnant gas and dust in the form of discs and larger envelopes. Image released Feb. 29, 2012

Warped Galactic Ring


Astronomers using the infrared Herschel Space Observatory have discovered that this suspected ring of gas at the center of our Milky Way is warped for reasons they cannot explain.

IC5146 Interstellar Cloud

Dense filaments of gas in the IC5146 interstellar cloud, in an infrared photo from ESA’s Herschel space observatory.

Dense filaments of gas in the IC5146 interstellar cloud, in an infrared photo from ESA’s Herschel space observatory.

Fomalhaut and Dust Disc

ESA/Herschel/PACS/Bram Acke, KU Leuven, Belgium

This infrared image shows the young star Fomalhaut and its surrounding dust disc it as seen with ESA's Herschel space observatory. Astronomers suspect Fomalhaut's debris disc stems from dust particles created by prolific comet collisions, with an average rate of 2,000 daily crashes between comets of 1 kilometer across.

Herschel’s Three-Color View of Asteroid Apophis

ESA/Herschel/PACS/MACH-11/MPE/B.Altieri (ESAC) and C. Kiss (Konkoly Observatory)

ESA’s Herschel Space Observatory captured asteroid Apophis in its field of view during the approach to Earth on January, 5-6, 2013. This image shows the asteroid in Herschel’s three PACS wavelengths: 70, 100 and 160 microns.

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