Today the European Space Agency announced what promises to be a spectacular new website for images gleaned from the operations of the Herschel Space Telescope. OSHI – the Online Showcase of Herschel Images — at present offers just three images, but each is absolutely spectacular.
The significance of the image above is explained in the ESA update “Inside the Dark Heart of the Eagle”, which avers that this infrared image depicts a region 65 light-years across, a dark cloud when viewed only in visible light, in which 100 protostars and 600 stellar precursors are forming.
Another similar region of cold gas clouds in the Southern Cross constellation yielded this image:
which is explained in detail in ‘Herschel Views Deep-Space Pearls on a Cosmic String’
Want to learn more about the Herschel mission?
The European space agency website offers a number of Youtube videos on the Herschel telescope and related matters, including this short video on the objectives of the Herschel mission,
this very short video on “Exploring the Universe with Herschel and Planck”, and also ‘Looking Inside Herschel’
You might also wish to see our earlier post Trinity of Triumph in the International Year of Astronomy.
Finally, on the ESA website you’ll also find this view of the hero of the story, the Herschel Space Telescope: