SSDC involvement in the Herschel project

The SSDC provides wide-range support to the Italian astronomical community involved in the mission for:

  • the preparation and submission of proposals;
  • processing the data using the standard pipeline;
  • installing and using specific tools for scientific analysis;
  • knowledge transfer of instrumental and data reduction expertise to the Italian community;
  • tutorials regarding the mission (satellite, instruments), data reduction and data analysis methods.

For any question concerning the Herschel Space Observatory, please contact the SSDC staff.

Mission Overview

The Herschel Space Observatory is a European Space Agency (ESA) mission conceived to provide spectroscopic and photometric observations at far infrared and sub-millimetre wavelengths.
This section contains an overall description of the mission (Observatory) and of the scientific instruments on board the satellite (PACS, SPIRE and HIFI).

Observing Time

Herschel is conceived as a Space Observatory open to the entire astronomical community. The Routine Science Phase started in January 2010, about 7 months after the launch, following a Commissioning Phase, a Performance Verification Phase and a Science Demonstration Phase.
Roughly, half of the Routine Science Phase observing time is still allocated to Key Programmes , while the remaining 'open time' is available for the worldwide scientific community and will be allocated using a standard competitive proposal procedure, through Announcement of Opportunities.
Information regarding tools for the preparation and submission of proposals (HSPOT and HROST) can be accessed here.

Observing Mode

The Herschel payload includes three scientific instruments built to perform photometry and spectroscopy in different wavelengths and with different techniques.
Several observing modes are available:

Data Processing

Data received from the Herschel Observatory are reduced using the standard pipeline. Each observing mode has a specific task to process data from raw data (satellite output) to final scientific data. All the pipelines are accessible using the Herschel Interactive Processing Environment (HIPE), a user friendly interface which assists the user through the data reduction steps, from access to the ESA database up to the final products. In this section the UNIHIPE tool is available for producing level 1 data compatible with UNIMAP, a mapmaker developed for processing PACS and SPIRE observations acquired in mapping mode and for obtaining high quality maps.
Source detection and flux extraction in photometric data can be performed by using the CUTEX software, available both for the GDL and IDL languages in this section.


Latest Herschel News
See the 'ESA News & Press Releases related to Herschel' section on the HSA website