A Public lecture by: Professor Matt Griffin (Cardiff)
The Herschel Space Observatory was launched by the European Space Agency in May 2009. It works at far infrared wavelengths, about 100-1000 times longer than the wavelengths of visible light. It carries the biggest astronomical telescope yet launched, and its main scientific goals are to investigate how stars form in our galaxy today and the formation and evolution of galaxies throughout the history of the Universe.
The observatory is working very well and has produced many spectacular images and scientific results. I will describe the Herschel spacecraft and its instruments, and show some scientific highlights.
Professor Matt Griffin studied Electrical Engineering at University College Dublin and Astrophysics at Queen Mary College London. He remained at Queen Mary until 2001 when he joined the Astronomy Instrumentation Group at Cardiff University. His research work has included the development of state-of-the-art instruments for both ground-based and space-borne observatories, and study of planetary atmospheres, star formation, galaxy evolution, and the Earth's atmosphere. He led the international team that built the SPIRE instrument on board ESA's Herschel Space Observatory, which is studying the formation of stars and galaxies, and is a Co-Investigator of the Planck Surveyor satellite, which is studying the big bang.