Planck telescope reveals ancient cosmic light
By Jonathan Amos | BBCNews.co.uk
ESA, HFI, and LFI Consortia
This is the extraordinary place where we all live - the Universe.
The picture is the first full-sky image from Europe’s Planck telescope which was sent into space last year to survey the "oldest light" in the cosmos.
It took the 600m-euro observatory just over six months to assemble the map.
It shows what is visible beyond the Earth to instruments that are sensitive to light at very long wavelengths - much longer than what we can sense with our eyes.
Researchers say it is a remarkable dataset that will help them understand better how the Universe came to look the way it does now.
"It’s a spectacular picture; it’s a thing of beauty," Dr Jan Tauber, the European Space Agency’s (Esa) Planck project scientist, told BBC News.
Dominating the foreground are large segments of our Milky Way Galaxy.
The bright horizontal line running the full length of the image is the galaxy’s main disc - the plane in which the Sun and the Earth also reside.
- Planck is surveying the famous Cosmic Microwave Background
- This ancient light’s origins date to 380,000 years after the Big Bang
- It informs scientists about the age, contents and shape of the cosmos
- Planck’s measurements will be finer than any previous satellite
- The observatory makes its map by rotating and scanning the sky
- Planck’s mission goal is to scan the sky at least four times
- Planck achieves ultra-cold state
- Satellite prepares to go super-cold
In the way
This is where most stars in the Milky Way form today; but because this picture records only light at long wavelengths (microwaves to the very far infrared), what we actually see are not stars at all.
Rather, what we see is the stuff that goes into making stars - lots of dust and gas.
Of particular note are the huge streamers of cold dust that reach thousands of light-years above and below the galactic plane.
"What you see is the structure of our galaxy in gas and dust, which tells us an awful lot about what is going on in the neighbourhood of the Sun; and it tells us a lot about the way galaxies form when we compare this to other galaxies," observed Professor Andrew Jaffe, a Planck team member from Imperial College London, UK.
But as beautiful as the Milky Way appears, its emission must be removed if scientists are to get an even better view of its mottled backdrop, coloured here in magenta and yellow.
This is the famous cosmic microwave background (CMB) radiation, and a key target of the Planck mission.
The CMB is the "first light". It is the light that was finally allowed to move out across space once a post-Big-Bang Universe had cooled sufficiently to permit the formation of hydrogen atoms.
Before that time, scientists say, the cosmos would have been so hot that matter and radiation would have been "coupled" - the Universe would have been opaque.
Researchers can detect temperature variations in this ancient heat energy that give them insights into the early structure of the Universe and the blueprint for everything that came afterwards.
A major quest for Planck is to find firm evidence of "inflation", the faster-than-light expansion that cosmologists believe the Universe experienced in its first, fleeting moments.
Theory predicts this event ought to be "imprinted" in the CMB and its detail should be retrievable with sufficiently sensitive instruments.
Planck is designed to have that capability. Some of its detectors operate at a staggering minus 273.05C - just a tenth of a degree above what scientists term "absolute zero".
Planck is already in the process of assembling a second version of the map. It has funding to acquire at least four versions.
"We know that eventually as the data get better and better, what you end up getting to are the limitations of what you know about the instrument," explained Professor Jaffe.
"And so, by running Planck for longer we can learn a lot more about the instrument itself and thereby remove a lot of the contaminating effects that are just because of the way it produces its noise."
Read the full article at: news.bbc.co.uk
"Impossible" Star seen by Euro space telescope
Vatican tied Mount Graham Observatory launches LUCIFER Telescope
Location chosen for European "Extremely Large Telescope"
Spacewalking Astronauts Seen With a Backyard Telescope (Video)
Implantable Telescope for the Eye
MIT To Lead Development Of New Telescopes On Moon
Latest News from our Front Page
Sweden may be at war "in a few years" - top brass in leaked document
In a few years Sweden may be engaged in a war with a “qualified opponent” after two centuries of peace, a senior Swedish commander has told soldiers in an internal brochure.
The alarming message was reportedly sent by Major General Anders Brännström, the Army chief, in a brochure distributed among the participants of a major annual event that is to open ...
Danish imam urges govt to accept child marriages among refugees
A high-profile imam has urged the Danish government to accept child brides, as the practice is part of the culture of many refugees arriving in the country. It follows an announcement by Denmark that such couples will be separated under Danish law.
Imam Oussama El-Saadi, of the Aarhus mosque in Denmark, said that child brides should be looked at from a ...
White Parents in Virginia Shutdown White Guilt Video!
You see folks? This is what happens when you stop blaming the Joo, and you get the fuck off your favorite bitch corner and start taking action! This is what happens when parents start parenting again! What? You’re gonna brainwash our kids with your filth and lies? We don’t think so. How would you like an empty school with no ...
Hungarian Top Economist: Civil War is Coming to Europe
Zsolt Bayer, Hungarian journalist, publicist, and co-founder of Hungary's currently ruling political party, and Dr. László Bogár, former politician and leading economist, discuss the Cologne sexual assualts committed by migrants on New Year's Eve, 2016.
This short part of the 60-minute long television program that aired on Echo TV on January 8, 2016, is of a rant by Mr. Bogár warning ...
British scientists granted permission to genetically modify human embryos
The Francis Crick institute will genetically edit the leftover embryos from from IVF clinics
British scientists have been granted permission to genetically modify human embryos by the fertility regulator.
The scientists want to deactivate genes in leftover embryos from IVF clinics to see if it hinders development.
It will only be the second time in the world that such a procedure has ...
|More News » |