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It is enchanting, spectacular and - at 3.5m in diameter - it will soon become the biggest telescope mirror in space, surpassing that of Hubble.... It will take up a vantage point a million-and-a-half kilometres from Earth, to open up what scientists expect to be an utterly fascinating new vista on the Universe. Unlike Hubble, which is tuned to see the cosmos in the same light that is visible to our eyes, Herschel will go after much longer...


 astronomy universe Herschel Planck ESA telescope space
As sensitive as Kepler is, it will not be able to directly image a planet, which would require detectors capable of picking up relative changes in starlight on the order of one part per billion, as compared to Kepler's 10 to 40 parts per million.


 telescope space Kepler exoplanet
The first stage of the switch-on of one of the world's most powerful stargazing systems has got under way. Seven radio telescopes around the UK have been linked with optical fibres, allowing scientists to probe deeper into the Universe than ever before. The new data-link upgrade has replaced the older microwave technology that once connected the telescopes.


 astronomy telescope
Space shuttle Atlantis has reached the Hubble telescope, orbiting at a height of 560km above the Earth.


 Hubble telescope space shuttle
A remarkable view of our Galaxy has been obtained by Europe's billion-euro Herschel Space Observatory.
 Herschel telescope Milky Way toread
The E-ELT (European Extremely Large Telescope) will have a primary mirror 42m in diameter. Astronomers say the next-generation observatory will be so powerful it will be able to image directly rocky planets beyond our Solar System. It should also be able to provide major insights into the nature of black holes, galaxy formation, the mysterious "dark matter" that pervades the Universe, and the even more mysterious "dark...


 E-ELT telescope astronomy Chile Europe extrasolar planet
The Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy is a modified Boeing 747-SP aircraft known as Sofia.


 telescope astronomy NASA airplane
A colossal star many times the mass of our own Sun is seen growing in a bubble of excited gas just pictured by the Herschel space observatory.


 Herschel space telescope birth star astronomy
A new telescope facility in Hawaii designed to search for asteroids and comets which could threaten Earth has been made operational.


 asteroid detection telescope Hawaii astronomy