Planck’s first light

Planck first light

Credits: ESA, LFI & HFI Consortia. Background optical image: Axel Mellinger. ESA’s Herschel space telescope sent its first view back some months ago. Its companion microwave observatory, Planck, which was launched at the same time, has now achieved first light [BBC report]. From the ESA press release.

The ‘first light’ survey, which began on 13 August, was a two-week period during which Planck surveyed the sky continuously. It was carried out to verify the stability of the instruments and the ability to calibrate them over long periods to the exquisite accuracy needed. This survey was completed on 27 August, yielding maps of a strip of the sky, one for each of Planck’s nine frequencies. Each map is a ring, about 15° wide, stretching across the full sky. Preliminary analysis indicates that the quality of the data is excellent.

ESA’s video introduction to Planck. Credit ESA TV 2009.

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  • RepublicanStones

    You flogging weird easter eggs now Pete?

    Does that one come with a copy of Pink Floyd’s DSOTM inside?

  • joeCanuck

    A pity they can’t put it into hibernation and do the second survey in say 5-10 years time to see if perhaps it is possible to detect how quickly/slowly changes might have occurred back when..
    But maybe they have already prepared a follow up mission.

  • Greenflag

    Any sign of God yet ? or is he/she or it still hiding behind the membrane that leads to that alternative universe/universes beyond the singularity ?

    Still at only 360,000 years from the singularity the scientists are getting very close .

    360,000 years ago if Pete or Joe or Republican Stones were seen talking into a cell phone and driving a BMW the locals would immediatley have procalimed them to be GOD /sorry Gods . In fact a thousand years ago medieaval peasants would have been awestruck and fallen on their hands and knees in worship of said Trio.

    Alas 450 years or ago or even sooner they’d have been burnt at the stake for being exhibitors of witchcraft and satanism .

    The species makes progress but it’s neither linear nor guaranteed .