Herschel is running out of coolant

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Herschel is running out of coolant

Post by digdug » Thu Mar 21, 2013 11:12 am

The Herschel Space Observatory is a European Space Agency space observatory sensitive to the far infrared and submillimetre wavebands (55-672 µm).

It is the largest infrared telescope in orbit. It's running out of coolant (predicted by the end of March 2013) and consequently the end of its mission.

No coolant no infrared photos :(

And yes, you need to cool down the telescope in space to near absolute zero, because space (at 2.7 kelvin, -270 Celsius) is too warm :P


http://www.space.com/20120-herschel-spa ... nding.html

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Re: Herschel is running out of coolant

Post by Vachtra » Mon Apr 01, 2013 11:24 pm

The temperature around the satellite is actually quite a bit hotter than noted, probably some where just below freezing. The reason for the coolant is that space is a near perfect insulator and keeps the heat from the electronics in. Without the coolant it would quickly heat up to the point where it ceases to work. Just think about how your laptop heats up after just a few hours. If the cooling fans broke you would soon have a hot brick.
The near 3 kelvins would be in deep space far away from even the outreaches of our solar system. Due to the lack of energy transference (or abundance of insulation) though even at this point it would require coolant to keep it from overheating.
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