From ESA via Manu: “The Planck mission and cosmic radiation” 2010

Manu Garcia, a friend from IAC.

The universe around us.
Astronomy, everything you wanted to know about our local universe and never dared to ask.

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European Space Agency

The Planck Mission.

Deflection of light from the Big Bang.
This artist shows how photons in the cosmic microwave background (CMB detected by the space telescope Planck ESA) are deflected by the gravitational lensing of cosmic structures massive as they travel through the universe.

Gravitational Lensing NASA/ESA

CMB per ESA/Planck

Gravitational lenses create additional distortions small speckled pattern of temperature fluctuations WBC. A small fraction of CMB is polarized; a component of this polarized light modes B, has been given an additional signature by lensing. This footprint was found for the first time by combining data from ground – based telescope South Pole and the space observatory Herschel ESA. Copyright ESA Planck and collaboration.

To map background radiation produced by the Big Bang with unprecedented resolution and sensitivity and test theories about the birth and evolution of the universe.

Planck is the time machine ESA. Looks back at early times, near the Big Bang, what happened about 13,700 million years ago. Planck will analyze with accuracy not achieved so far, the remnants of the radiation that filled the Universe immediately after the Big Bang – radiation observed today as the Cosmic Microwave Background (CMB Cosmic Microwave Background).

The results will help astronomers decide which theories of the birth and evolution of the universe are correct, for example, how the universe began life with a period of rapid expansion?

But first, Planck to detect and understand the issue of the cosmic background that lies between us and the first light of the universe. The first scientific data from Planck and first results were released in January 2011, and the first cosmological results are expected in early 2013.

What makes it special?
Planck is the first European mission to study the relic left over from the Big Bang, radiation after those first moments.

The temperature of the CMB radiation has been measured at about 2.7 degrees Kelvin, but Planck will provide even more accurate measurements with an accuracy set by fundamental astrophysical limits. In other words, it is impossible to obtain better images of this radiation that you get Planck.

Scientists already know from previous observations, that in heaven appear slightly warmer or colder, anisotropy, with differences in some areas by 100,000. These temperature differences are the traces in the WBC by the primitive seeds of immense concentrations current art, for example, galaxies and clusters of galaxies. The high sensitivity of Planck will result in the best map of those present in the CMB anisotropy, allowing scientists to learn more about the evolution of the structure of the universe.

To complete these measures high precision, Planck observed in nine bands of the electromagnetic spectrum, from one centimeter to one third of a millimeter, corresponding to the range of the wavelength ranging from microwaves to infrared far away. Planck’s detectors are cooled to temperatures near absolute zero because otherwise, its own heat emission alter measures.

The ship.


Planck ship is about 4.2 m high and 4.2 m wide. The primary mirror is 1.5 m and has two scientific instruments: LFI (Low Frequency Instrument, Instrument low frequency) which operates between 30 and 70 GHz, and HFI (High Frequency Instrument, Instrument high frequency), operating between 100 and 857 GHz. HFI completed its poll in January 2012. LFI continues in operation.


Planck was launched on May 14, 2009 on an Ariane 5 from the spaceport of Kourou ESA, in French Guiana. He shared journey with the ship Herschel, ESA. The two ships operate independently. Planck ended its operations on 23 October 2.013.

Planck operates from a Lissajous orbit around the second Lagrange point of the Sun-Earth system (L2), a virtual point located 1.5 million km from Earth in the opposite direction to the sun.


Planck was initially called COBRAS / SAMBA (acronym deCosmic Background Radiation Anisotropy Satellite ySatellite for Measurement of Background anisotropies), as the mission grew from two proposals with similar objectives.

Following approval of the mission in 1996, it was renamed in honor of the German scientist Max Planck (1858-1947) who won the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1918.

The ESA Planck observatory is a continuation of the mission COBE (Cosmic Background Explorer ) and WMAP (Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe), both NASA.

Cosmic Infrared Background, Credit: Michael Hauser (Space Telescope Science Institute), the COBE/DIRBE Science Team, and NASA



NASA WMAP satellite


The Planck satellite prime contractor Alcatel Alenia Space was (Cannes, France), who led the consortium of industrial partners with the industrial department of Alcatel Alenia Space in Torino (Italy) responsible for the service module. ESA and the Danish National Space Center (Copenhagen, Denmark, founded by the Research Council of Natural Sciences Denmark) were responsible for providing the Planck telescope mirrors, manufactured by EADS Astrium (Friedrichshafen, Germany).

The LFI instrument (led by IASF, Istituto di Astrofisica Spaziale e Fisica Cosmica in Bologna, Italy) was designed and built by a consortium of scientists and institutions from Italy, Finland, UK, Spain, USA, Germany, Netherlands , Switzerland, Norway, Sweden and Denmark.

The HFI instrument (led by the Institut d’Astrophysique Spatiale (CNRS) in Orsay, France) was designed and built by a consortium of scientists and institutions from France, USA, UK, Canada, Italy, Spain, Ireland, Germany, Netherlands, Denmark and Switzerland.

Numerous agencies contributed to the financing of hardware LFI and HFI instruments; The most prominent are: CNES (France), ASI (Italy), NASA (United States), PPARC (United Kingdom), Tekes (Finland), Ministry of Education and Science (Spain) and ESA.

Sky image of the cosmic background radiation. Credit: ESA / LFI & HFI.

This image microwave sky was synthesized using data covering the frequency range of light detected by Planck. These low frequencies, which can not be seen with the human eye, covering the range 30-857 GHz.

Granulosa structure of the cosmic microwave background, with its tiny temperature fluctuations that reflect density variations from which the cosmic web of our universe originated, is clearly visible in the high latitude regions of the map.

A large portion of the sky, which extends well above and below the galactic plane, is dominated by the diffuse emission of gas and dust in our galaxy, the Milky Way. While the first galactic plane signal hidden cosmic microwave background from our view, also it highlights the extent of large-scale structure of our galaxy.

Although the two main components of the microwave sky appear to be separable only in certain areas, one in the foreground removal across the sky is made possible by sophisticated image analysis techniques which have been developed by scientists Planck teams. These techniques are based on single frequency coverage of the observatory and unprecedented precision of their measurements.

This image is derived from data collected by Planck during its first survey of the entire sky, and covers about 12 months of observations.

Planck is a mission of the European Space Agency, with significant participation from NASA. The Planck Project Office at NASA is headquartered at JPL. JPL contributed enabling technology for both mission Planck scientific instruments. Scientists from Europe, Canada and the United States Planck will work together to analyze the Planck data.

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The European Space Agency (ESA), established in 1975, is an intergovernmental organization dedicated to the exploration of space, currently with 19 member states. Headquartered in Paris, ESA has a staff of more than 2,000. ESA’s space flight program includes human spaceflight, mainly through the participation in the International Space Station program, the launch and operations of unmanned exploration missions to other planets and the Moon, Earth observation, science, telecommunication as well as maintaining a major spaceport, the Guiana Space Centre at Kourou, French Guiana, and designing launch vehicles. ESA science missions are based at ESTEC in Noordwijk, Netherlands, Earth Observation missions at ESRIN in Frascati, Italy, ESA Mission Control (ESOC) is in Darmstadt, Germany, the European Astronaut Centre (EAC) that trains astronauts for future missions is situated in Cologne, Germany, and the European Space Astronomy Centre is located in Villanueva de la Cañada, Spain.

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