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The HerMES Project

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HerMES is the Herschel Multi-tiered Extragalactic Survey, an astronomical project to study the evolution of galaxies in the distant Universe. It is the largest project on ESA's Herschel Space Observatory.

The project is carried out by a large team, made up primarily of people who built one of the instruments on Herschel called SPIRE.

Hermes is also the Olympian messenger god, ruler of travelers, boundaries, weights and measures.

HerMES maps large regions of the sky using cameras that are sensitive to infrared radiation. We expect to discover over 100 thousand galaxies. The light from most of these galaxies will have taken more than 10 billion years to reach us, which means we will see them as they were 3 to 4 billion years after the big bang. Since the cameras are detecting infrared radiation they see star formation that is hidden from conventional telescopes. We expect that our cameras will catch many of the galaxies at the moment they are forming most of their stars.

This image of two galaxies (above) was taken by the SPIRE camera on Herschel. The fuzzy blobs in the background of the two clear galaxies are actually very distant galaxies, just like those we will be discovering.