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Of Galaxy Clusters & Cosmic Dust

A couple of scientific papers I was (loosely) involved in have recently made the news, both exploiting European Space Agency‘s Herschel Space Observatory.

In the first one, my former postdoctoral supervisor, Dave Clements at Imperial College London, combined data from the Herschel & Planck space observatories to detect what we now believe are some of the most distant galaxy clusters found to date. Imperial’s full press release dwells some more on the discovery and its implications.

Herschel/Planck Galaxy Clusters (ESA/NASA/Herschel/Planck & Dave Clements)
Herschel/Planck Galaxy Clusters (ESA/NASA/Herschel/Planck & Dave Clements)

In the second paper, my fellow Italian Luca Cortese used Herschel to perform the most accurate census to date of cosmic dust in nearby galaxies. For the more graphically inclined, my old chum Bruno Merin with the Herschel Science Centre in Madrid has also produced a very nice image slider to navigate the optical and infrared appearance of this large sample of nearby galaxies. ESA’s press release will fill you in with the details.

Herschel Reference Survey (ESA/Herschel/HRS/HeViCS/SDSS & Luca Cortese)
Herschel Reference Survey (ESA/Herschel/HRS/HeViCS/SDSS & Luca Cortese)

Well done to both, then. For the record, the Herschel Space Observatory was launched on May 14th 2009 and carried out scientific operations until the liquid helium employed to cool its instrumentation ran out on April 29th 2013. However, its 37,000 scientific observations, illustrated in the animation below, will be actively studied for years to come. Here’s to many a press release and shiny graphics!

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