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Last by Evie on Jan 22, 2011, 12:38pm
Last week astronomers working on the European Space Agency’s Planck experiment convened in Paris to talk about their first results, and they weren’t short of things to say. No less than 25 papers were announced on Tuesday 11th January — and this is before work has even started on the mission’s main aim of putting together a detailed picture of the Cosmic Microwave Background, or CMB.
The CMB is a uniform glow of microwave radiation, with only tiny fluctuations, that gives us a snapshot of the universe around 380,000 years after the Big Bang. We’ve seen it before, courtesy of WMAP
in 2003 and COBE
in 1992. But Planck has the power to look at this faint glow in never-before-seen detail, revealing more about the universe than every before.
Video showing locations of the different compact objects found by Planck.
Before they can get to work on this new view of the CMB, however, astronomers must study the foreground noise of the picture in detail. This “noise” is made up of structures formed after the CMB: galaxies, galaxy clusters, and matter within the Milky Way, such as gas and dust.
Planck astronomers studi . . . More