Day 1 of the Herschel Science Demonstration Phase Data Processing Workshop. Until Wednesday we will be based at ESAC, some 20 miles or so outside Madrid (map here). In the photo (click to enlarge) you can see ISO, Herschel's predecessor, at the left (well, a scale model of it!), and the ruins of a 15th Century castle at the right.

Today: update on the status of the mission, the instruments and the data processing software. This afternoon we'll be demonstrating the SPIRE photometry pipeline and I'll be rounding the day off with a brief demonstration of the point source extraction tool. If that made no sense to you, here's a layman's description: Herschel makes pictures of thousands of distant galaxies where each galaxy looks like a blob, and the tool automatically spots the blobs and measures how bright they are. And by spotting, counting and measuring blobs, we can learn about how stars formed in the early Universe. Exciting stuff!