“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.