May 142009

Given the less than perfect record of the Ariane 5 launch vehicle, there was reason for concern given that two new great observatories, Herschell and Planck, were launched on the same rocket this morning. Fortunately, the launch was successful, and both spacecraft are now on their merry way. Herschell is an infrared/submillimeter wavelength telescope, while Planck is “WMAP on steroids”, expected to provide much higher resolution views of the cosmic microwave background than its predecessor.

 Posted by at 4:01 pm