Herschel orbital separation, artwork

Herschel orbital separation, artwork

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Credit: DAVID DUCROS, ESA/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Herschel orbital separation, artwork. The Herschel Space Observatory (left) was launched into space on 14 May 2009 by an Ariane 5 rocket. Here, it is separating from the satellite carrier (black) mounted on the rocket's second stage. Herschel is one of the largest space telescopes ever launched. After separation, it travelled to the second Lagrangian point (L2) at a distance of 1.5 million kilometres. Its 3.5-metre diameter mirror collects long-wavelength infrared radiation from some of the coolest and most distant objects in the Universe. This was a double launch with the Planck spacecraft inside the satellite carrier.

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