European Space Agency

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What is 'Herschel'? 'Herschel' (Herschel) is the largest telescope, launched beyond Earth. The diameter of its main mirror – one of the most important component of the optical system – is 3,5 meters. For comparison, the primary mirror 'Hubble' about a meter already – its diameter is 2.4 meters. The size of the primary mirror is directly dependent 'vigilance' telescope. Than it is wider, the more radiation can be collected. The diameter of the mirror – not the only thing that distinguishes 'Herschel' from 'Hubble'. Large telescope sees the universe not in the optical and infrared and submillimeter ranges.

All created so far infrared space telescopes of its size not even close to approaching the 'Herschel'. Their mirrors were collected on average 20 times less radiation than a mirror of the new telescope. Why do I need infrared? The human eye can not detect radiation in the infrared. Our vision is limited to a narrow wavelength range from 360 to 730 nanometers, called visible light. Watching came from the depths of the universe visible light, you can get a lot of information about stars, comets, and even some planets.

It Visible light is the primary source of information about space until the mid xx century. The idea of creating a huge orbital infrared telescope was born in 1982 at the European scientists. After 27 years of rocket Ariane-5 launched from spaceport in French Guiana. In the development of the telescope, 'responsible' for that is the European Space Agency, was attended by ten countries including the United States and Russia.

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