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Submission + - Herschel space telescope shuts down (gizmag.com)

cylonlover writes: All good things come to an end and the European Space Agency’s Herschel Space Observatory mission is no exception. After more than three years in orbit, the most powerful infrared telescope ever flown in space has ceased scientific operations after the last of the liquid helium used to supercool its instruments ran out.

Among its accomplishments, Herschel produced evidence that galaxies in the first billions of years of the universe contributed many more stars than previously thought, shone new light on the part played by dark matter and filaments in the formation of galaxies, suggested that supermassive black holes may affect star formation by removing gases from galaxies by means of radiation pressure. It also studied phenomenon such as the debris halo around the star Fomalhaut, which resembles our Solar System’s Kuiper Belt and may give clues to the formation of the planets.

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