Herschel-SPIRE 250 micron images of some of the galaxies included in the Herschel Reference Survey.
We are leading (Prof Steve Eales as P.I.) the Herschel Reference Survey, a Herschel key project that is a benchmark study of dust in the nearby Universe. We have used Herschel to produce images at 250, 350 and 500 microns of a statistically complete sample of 323 galaxies. The sample consists of galaxies with distances between 15 and 25 Mpc, with a flux limit in the K-band that effectively picks out the galaxies with the highest stellar masses in this volume of space. The sample spans the whole range of morphological types (ellipticals to late-type spirals) and environments (from the field to the centre of the Virgo Cluster). Overall, the Herschel Reference Survey represents the largest survey of nearby, extended, galaxies performed by Herschel and will thus represent an ideal reference for a number of other Herschel key project focused on the more distance universe. The HRS has so far produced 10 published papers. We expect to release the survey to the worldwide astronomical community in Autumn 2012.