Viewing the Galaxy through Hi-GAL
Hi-GAL is the largest Open Time Key project to observe and map galactic dust emission. The aim of the project is to map large parts of the Galactic Plane in five continuum bands in the infrared between 70 and 500 microns, perfectly tracing the peak of dust emission in the Milky Way and providing in this way a map of the temperature of the (cold) material that is forming stars. The novelty of the wavelength coverage is matched by an unprecedented spatial resolution thanks to Herschel's 3.5m-wide primary mirror as well as a suite of receivers with high sensitivity and dynamic range (in the case of Hi-GAL these are SPIRE and PACS).
In this talk I will review the many sides of the project, going from its status (including its already started expansion) to preliminary results in different areas (in particular in the determination of distances), through a brief illustration of the data products and the way these are obtained as a combined effort of the entire Hi-GAL team.