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Herschel Space Observatory
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Herschel Space Observatory





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Specifications

The Herschel Space Observatory is approximately nine meters high and 4.3 meters wide, with a launch mass of about 3.25 metric tons. It consists of an infrared telescope, a payload module containing the instruments, and a service module that houses the warm electronics of the instruments, equipment for communicating with Earth, and other infrastructure.

Specifications Table



Biggest Space Telescope

With a primary mirror measuring 3.5 meters in diameter, Herschel's Ritchey-Chrétien telescope is larger than any previous space-based astronomical telescope. Shielded from the sun, it is passively cooled to around 80 K (80 degrees Celsius above absoulte zero) by radiating its heat into space.

Spacecraft light path

The mirror is made of silicon carbide, a lightweight ceramic material resistant to stress, fatigue, and extreme temperatures. It can be polished as if it were glass, deviating from perfect smoothness by no more than one micron - a requirement to avoid distorting the images it receives.


 
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