Missions and facilities
Launched in May 2009, Herschel had the largest mirror ever launched on an astronomical telescope at the time, now exceeded only by the JWST. Herschel was, and continues to be, one of the most successful space missions ever launched by ESA, with scientific impact from our own Solar System to the most distant objects in the universe.
Launched on the same rocket as Herschel, Planck surveyed the entire sky at 9 different far-infrared to radio wavelengths to examine fluctuations in the microwave background left behind by the Big Bang, leading to precision measurements of fundamental cosmological parameters.
Euclid is a visible to near-IR space telescope under development by ESA. It's aim is to provide a high sensitivity, high resolution survey of much of the extragalactic sky, which will be used to reveal the distribution of dark matter across the universe and probe the properties of dark energy.
The largest legacy survey using NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope
The largest existing survey of the sky at near-infrared (0.9-2.3 micron) wavelengths
IPHAS and VPHAS+ are imaging the Northern (IPHAS) and Southern (VPHAS+) Milky Way in visible light and Hα down to >20th magnitude.
Imperial is a member of the UK-JCMT consortium, giving it access to this 15m diameter submm telescope on Mauna Kea in Hawaii. It is used for small scale observations and large scale surveys. Imperial is leading the JCMT-Venus project and is involved in a variety of other late JCMT programmes.
The Simons Observatory, currently under construction in Chile, is the leading next generation cosmic microwave background experiment, aiming to detect the signature of cosmic inflation at the earliest stages of the universe. Imperial is a member of the SO:UK collaboration, providing a UK contribution to this ambitious project.