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Herschel and Future Far Infrared Space Astronomy Missions

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ESA ’s Herschel Space Observatory is now being assembled and readied for launch around the end of this year together with Planck. About 40 Herschel Guaranteed and Open Time Key Projects have already been approved and will occupy more than half of the nominal three year operational lifetime. I shall describe the main features and scientific capabilities of the Herschel instruments and present an overview of the selected Key Projects.

Post-Herschel far infrared space missions are now being developed, including the Japanese SPICA observatory (which involves a proposed European contribution, currently being studied as an element of Cosmic Vision) and US and European far infrared interferometer concepts. I shall review these missions’ scientific goals and technical challenges, and summarise their current status and plans for their advancement.

This talk is part of the Cavendish Astrophysics Seminars series.

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