Latest Planck Stories

2010-05-21 08:01:39

Advancing into the next frontier in astrophysics and cosmology depends on our ability to detect the presence of a particular type of wave in space, a primordial gravitational wave. Much like ripples moving across a pond, these waves stretch the fabric of space itself as they pass by. If detected, these weak and elusive waves could provide an unprecedented view of the earliest moments of our universe. In an article appearing in the May 21 issue of Science, Arizona State University theoretical...

2010-04-26 10:11:06

New images from ESA's Planck space observatory reveal the forces driving star formation and give astronomers a way to understand the complex physics that shape the dust and gas in our Galaxy. Star formation takes place hidden behind veils of dust but that doesn't mean we can't see through them. Where optical telescopes see only black space, Planck's microwave eyes reveal myriad glowing structures of dust and gas. Now, Planck has used this ability to probe two relatively nearby...

2010-03-17 08:40:00

Giant filaments of cold dust stretching through our Galaxy are revealed in a new image from ESA's Planck satellite. Analyzing these structures could help to determine the forces that shape our Galaxy and trigger star formation. Planck is principally designed to study the biggest mysteries of cosmology. How did the Universe form? How did the galaxies form? This new image extends the range of its investigations into the cold dust structures of our own Galaxy. The image shows the...

2010-02-12 14:51:34

NASA will hold a teleconference with reporters at 1 p.m. EST on Wednesday, Feb. 17, to discuss the latest Chandra X-ray Observatory findings that advance our understanding of certain supernovae. This research is critical for studying dark energy, which astronomers believe pervades the universe. The panelists are: - Marat Gilfanov, astrophysicist, Max Planck Institute for Astrophysics, Garching, Germany- Akos Bogdan, astrophysicist, Max Planck Institute for Astrophysics- Mario Livio,...

2010-02-04 08:15:00

To map our home planet, Google Earth depends mostly on satellite imagery for land surfaces and sonar imagery for the sea floor. Maps of the Universe likewise depend on different kinds of detectors for different kinds of features. Maps of the cosmic microwave background (CMB), for example, depend on measuring minute differences in the temperature of the sky. When astrophysicist Julian Borrill came to Berkeley Lab's National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center (NERSC) in 1997, his first...

2009-11-18 09:55:00

NASA's Cosmic Background Explorer (COBE) satellite rocketed into Earth orbit on Nov. 18, 1989, and quickly revolutionized our understanding of the early cosmos. Developed and built at Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md., COBE precisely measured and mapped the oldest light in the universe -- the cosmic microwave background. COBE showed that the radiation's spectrum agrees exactly with predictions based on the Big Bang theory. And COBE's map of slight hot and cold spots within this...

2009-09-17 07:39:27

The European Space Agency says it has completed a two-week first light assessment of its Planck space observatory and found data quality to be excellent. Plank, a microwave observatory, is designed to study the early universe and will make two full sky surveys, the first of which is expected to be completed in six months, the ESA said. The spacecraft has a mission life expectancy of 15 months, with the data it provides expected to keep both cosmologists and astrophysicists busy for decades....

2009-09-17 08:10:00

Preliminary results from ESA's Planck mission to study the early Universe indicate that the data quality is excellent. This bodes well for the full sky survey that has just begun. Planck started surveying the sky regularly from its vantage point at the second Lagrange point of the Sun-Earth system, L2, on 13 August. The instruments were fine-tuned for optimum performance in the period preceding this date. ESA's Planck microwave observatory is the first European mission designed to study the...

2009-07-03 10:20:00

Last night, the detectors of Planck's High Frequency Instrument reached their amazingly low operational temperature of -273°C, making them the coldest known objects in space. The spacecraft has also just entered its final orbit around the second Lagrange point of the Sun-Earth system, L2. Planck is equipped with a passive cooling system that brings its temperature down to about -230°C by radiating heat into space. Three active coolers take over from there, and bring the...

2009-06-05 09:45:00

Beginning today, ESA's Planck satellite will carry out a critical mid-course maneuver that will place the satellite on its final trajectory for arrival at L2, the second Lagrange point of the Sun-Earth system, early in July. The maneuver is scheduled to begin at 19:28 CEST on June 5 2009, and will last for up to 30 hours. Planck's main thrusters will conduct repeated 'pulse burns' during this time, switching on then off for 6 seconds every minute. This pulse-burn technique is necessary...

Latest Planck Reference Libraries

2004-10-19 04:45:40

Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe (WMAP) -- The Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe (WMAP) was launched on June 30, 2001 at 3:46 p.m. EDT at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida, USA. The goal of WMAP was to map out minute differences in the Cosmic Microwave Background (CMB) radiation which would help test theories of the nature of the universe. On February 11, 2003, the public relations group from NASA made a press release regarding the age and composition of the universe....

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Word of the Day
  • A murmuring sound; a rushing or whistling sound, like that of the wind; a deep sigh.
  • A gentle breeze; a waft; a breath.
  • Any rumor that engages general attention.
  • A cant or whining mode of speaking, especially in preaching or praying; the chant or recitative characteristic of the old Presbyterians in Scotland.
  • To make a rushing, whistling, or sighing sound; emit a hollow murmur; murmur or sigh like the wind.
  • To breathe in or as in sleep.
  • To utter in a whining or monotonous tone.
According to the OED, from the 16th century, this word is 'almost exclusively Scots and northern dialect until adopted in general literary use in the 19th.'