The three instruments on the Herschel Space Observatory, HIFI, SPIRE, and PACS, cover together over a decade in frequency, from 450 GHz to 5000 GHz, with spectral resolutions δν/ν between 0.3 and 10-6.
The equivalent temperature range, defined by T = hν/k is 21 K ≤ Teq ≤ 240 K, and thus for dust emission, Herschel will cover the peak of the Planck function in many sources associated with both quiescent and star-forming molecular clouds, both in the Milky Way and other galaxies.
The temperature equivalence of the Herschel frequency range also means that essentially all portions of giant molecular clouds will be well probed by the many spectral lines in the Herschel wavelength range of 0.67 mm to 60 µm.
My focus in this paper is on gas phase spectral lines of molecules, atoms, and ions, which will be well resolved with the heterodyne receivers on HIFI, but typically not resolved in Galactic sources with the other two instruments.
Kinematic interpretation of spectral lines with HIFI is of great interest, along with determination of temperature, density, and column density.
I briefly summarize in this review the most important species for Herschel observations, and discuss how one can derive important astronomical quantities from data obtained with the Herschel Space Observatory.
Along with describing techniques for analyzing data from the Herschel instruments, I will cover briefly what supplementary ground–based observations are necessary to extract the most from the valuable observing time of the space–based facility.