In a brief announcement made today, which you can see here, the European Space Agency (ESA) announced that it had set the date for the launch of the Herschel and Planck telescopes. The Herschel telescope is a large infrared (IR) telescope and the Planck telescope is a microwave telescope. As noted on this blog earlier this month (see here), ESA had delayed the launch due to problems noted during testing of the Ariane 5 launch vehicle.
On 23 April 2009, NASA announced that its SWIFT satellite, containing a gamma-ray telescope, had detected the most distant object in the observable universe. It was called GRB 090423. You can read about this discovery online here. Today, the European Southern Observatory (ESO) announced that it has confirmed that GRB 090423, the gamma-ray burst detected last week, is indeed associated with an object whose redshift is about 8.2. That is, this gamma-ray burst actually occurred about 13 billion years ago, just a few hundred million years after the big bang origin of the universe itself. Read more about the ESO Very Large Telescope and GRB 090423 online now here.