A couple of years after launch, it’s great to see science coming out of the 3.5-m European Herschel Space Observatory. Operating in the far-infrared, Herschel is for the first time giving us high-resolution images at wavelengths that were really very blobby until now. A large number of key projects have been going from the earliest days of the telescope’s operation, and these are now putting out lots of great publications.
The Kingfish project, led by Rob Kennicutt at the University of Cambridge, aims to study how stars are forming in other galaxies than our own, and what physical conditions are present in their interstellar media. The 60-ish galaxies observed are all relatively nearby so the telescope and its instruments can resolve them and study different regions (in contrast with high-redshift galaxies, where we often just detect a few red pixels).
The team, which includes lots of friends and colleagues from both MPIA and Leiden, just released this fun picture of their sample galaxies, replicating the well known Hubble tuning fork diagram of different galaxy shapes based on Spitzer (MIPS) mid-IR and Herschel far-IR data (PACS and SPIRE). If you go to the official page, there’s an interactive version that lets you click on the galaxies to find out more about them. Try clicking the fish as well. Unfortunately that version isn’t embeddable, so you’ll have to follow the link…. (nudge nudge, Chris North).