HIFI Science Demonstration Phase / Priority Science Phase Data Processing Workshop

Herschel Brochure cover

ESTEC, Noordwijk, The Netherlands, 8-9 April 2010


The Herschel Space Observatory is the fourth cornerstone mission in the ESA science "Horizon 2000" plan. Successfully launched together with Planck on 14 May 2009, it carries a 3.5 meter passively cooled telescope, and performs imaging photometry and spectrometry in the far-infrared and submillimetre part of the spectrum, covering the 55-672 micrometres range. The science payload consists of three instruments which are provided by consortia led by Principal Investigators: The Heterodyne Instrument for the Far-Infrared, HIFI, whose PI is F. Helmich, SRON, Groningen, The Netherlands; the Photodetector Array Camera and Spectrometer, PACS, whose PI is A. Poglitsch, MPE, Garching, Germany; and the Spectral and Photometric Imaging REceiver, SPIRE, whose PI is M. Griffin, Cardiff University, UK. Herschel is the first space facility dedicated to the submillimetre and far-infrared, and is being operated as a multiuser astronomical observatory that provides observation opportunities to the entire astronomical community.

On 3 August 2009 it was discovered by HIFI that on the day before the local oscillator control unit (LCU) had developed an anomaly leading to HIFI shutting down. Following extensive investigations, HIFI was successfully switched on and brought back in operation using redundant warm electronics units in the period 10-14 January 2010.

After very successful commissioning and performance verification activities conducted with HIFI in the last two months, HIFI has recently entered the so-called 'Science Demonstration Phase (SDP) / Priority Science Phase (PSP)', with the first science observations being scheduled in mid-February and the first data being distributed to HIFI Key Programme PIs in early March.


The workshop's main objectives were:

  1. to provide general information on the spacecraft and instrument status as of the end of the Performance & Verification Phase, with particular emphasis on those aspects affecting the HIFI instrument
  2. to review the main outcome of the HIFI Performance & Verification Phase in terms of lessons learned, instrument performance and main differences with respect to pre-launch expectations
  3. to provide an overview of the status of HIFI uplink validation: released and non-released observing modes (if any), and the changes with respect to pre-launch plans
  4. to provide an overview of the status of HIFI downlink validation: pipelines and interactive analysis tools, associated documentation, known calibration caveats, latest developments in interactive analysis with HIPE to fix these problems and prospects for the future
  5. to provide practical assistance to all participants attending the workshop in all aspects of HIFI data reduction, including tutorial-like sessions for standard level users on the first day as well as free format sessions on the second day in which users will have the chance to work on their own SDP/PSP data with the assistance of instrument experts that will be available on site to answer questions as they arise.


The primary target audience of this workshop, jointly organised by the HSC/NHSC and the HIFI ICC, is all HIFI KP members.

Workshop Generalities

Workshop Presentations