“it’s a thing of beauty”

Launched in May 2009 ESA’s super-cool Planck observatory achieved first light in September.  Now, as the BBC’s Jonathan Amos notes, ESA have released Planck’s first all-sky image.

“This is the moment that Planck was conceived for,” says ESA Director of Science and Robotic Exploration, David Southwood. “We’re not giving the answer. We are opening the door to an Eldorado where scientists can seek the nuggets that will lead to deeper understanding of how our Universe came to be and how it works now. The image itself and its remarkable quality is a tribute to the engineers who built and have operated Planck. Now the scientific harvest must begin.”

And here’s a short animation of Planck in action from ESA.

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  • Jack Cade

    It’s a fortuitous coincidence the universe looks so dam good.

  • I saw this on the BBC earlier today and it is indeed beautiful, and mysterious.

  • Pete Baker


    Although it’s likely that we find it beautiful precisely because we are a product of it.

  • Greenflag

    But was it beautiful before we became aware of it ? Of it’s 13.7 or thereabouts billion years of existence we have only now despite our (sapiens) 100,000 years existence had such a view of it . Don’t forget the colouring magenta etc in the background is the work of graphic artists displaying the dust clouds between the stars and galaxies . The eh real colours may be less ‘beautiful’ or indeed more .

    And this is just the one ‘universe’- There may be more universes which can only be theorised by scientists and researchers .

    Which all goes to or should go to making ‘humanity ‘ a little less arrogant about our self positioning at the apex of life on earth ;)?

  • Greenflag

    slight addendum ,

    And that holds or should hold even if it’s we (humanity) who are studying the universe and not the universe which is studying ‘us’ . I can’t think of any natural parallell other than that of a single celled amoeba at the bottom of a pond somehow grasping the existence of not just the lake into which his pond feeds but also the seas and oceans of the entire planet.

    Of course its been a long time since amoeba were the dominant life species on the earth . That would have been about 3.5 billion years before Noah and his ark .

  • HeinzGuderian

    ……….and yet we continue to fight and die on a minuscule planet,over microscopic pieces of dirt ? 🙁

  • Jean Meslier

    The word insignificant – meaning us, we ourselves, Homo Sapiens, – always comes to mind when looking at the majestic beauty of the Universe.
    There has never been a better time to exist than in this technological age.
    We know more, as lay people in the early 21st Century, than the greatest scientific minds of 4-500 years ago could ever hope to know.

    Imagine that.

    And guess what folks?
    We did it all by ourselves.

    But then again I’m sure the omniscient Godman knew we could eventually do this. So that was why he never disclosed this vast , expanding Universe as he rode around the desert on his donkey circa 30-33AD

  • Greenflag

    Man is not an entirely rational animal . We are creatures of culture as much as of blood and bone . The differences between Serbs and Croats , Israelis and Palestinians , is not seen in their DNA but in the Gods and histories they worship and the ‘nations’ they believe themselves to be . In some cases they attribute God’s special creation of their ‘perfect ‘people ‘ i.e God’s Chosen .

    But when all is said and done all the chosen peoples specially designed by a perfect Deity still carry around in their innards that imperfect hangover from a long distant past when their mutual ancestors crawled on all fours and had not yet stood erect -i.e their appendix – which without a moments notice can up and burst and kill them stone dead as well 😉

    Intelligent design ?

  • Jean Meslier

    Absolutely ourselves but if you look at the ancient monuments form Egypt to south America including here and the UK, the math was astonishingly accurate.

    Graphics in one form or another have always been added, to enhance and emphasize.

  • Jean Meslier

    Yes Pippakin.
    What the ancients developed/deciphered with the limited resources available to them was indeed astonishing.