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Space United Kingdom Science

First Full-Sky Image From Planck Mission 56

Posted by Soulskill
from the pretty-pictures dept.
krou writes "Six months of work has produced a remarkable full-sky map from Planck. 'It shows what is visible beyond the Earth to instruments that are sensitive to light at very long wavelengths — much longer than what we can sense with our eyes. Researchers say it is a remarkable dataset that will help them understand better how the Universe came to look the way it does now. ... Of particular note are the huge streamers of cold dust that reach thousands of light-years above and below the galactic plane. "What you see is the structure of our galaxy in gas and dust, which tells us an awful lot about what is going on in the neighborhood of the Sun; and it tells us a lot about the way galaxies form when we compare this to other galaxies," observed Professor Andrew Jaffe, a Planck team member from Imperial College London, UK.' The ESA has more details on their website, with a higher-res JPG available."
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First Full-Sky Image From Planck Mission

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  • at very long wavelengths — much longer than what we can sense with our eyes.

    Thanks for that.

    • Re: (Score:1, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      at very long wavelengths -- much longer than what we can sense with our eyes

      "Is noh Tiny, vely biiiiiig wavelength. You need eye-upglade..."

  • On first sight I thought it was an egg made of lapis lazuli.
    • According to the article, one of the goals of this mission is to look for signs of "Faster than light expansion" that occurred shortly after creation of the universe.

      This really excites me, it implies, that there existed conditions in our very own universe where at some point we had faster than light travel.

      More thank likely not in our lifetime, however if it happened once, its bound to be discovered "how" and potentially exploited to achieve FTL.

      Just my 0.02$

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        "This really excites me, it implies, that there existed conditions in our very own universe where at some point we had faster than light travel. ...if it happened once, its bound to be discovered "how" and potentially exploited to achieve FTL."

        If I understand it at all correctly (maybe not?), nothing ever traveled faster than the speed of light.

        It's just that the speed of light was much faster shortly after the big bang.
        Since then, the nature of the universe has changed, and the speed of light with it.
        I
        • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

          by Anonymous Coward

          No, I'm quite sure that the hyperinflation theory for the Big Bang states that the expansion of the universe actually exceeded the speed of light. This means then that there are places in the Universe that we will never be able to observe, since the light from these places will be unable to ever reach us.

        • by chichilalescu (1647065) on Monday July 05, 2010 @10:32AM (#32799818) Homepage Journal

          I saw a presentation a few months ago by someone who was involved in this research.
          basically, they see fluctuations in this picture, and these fluctuations are in fact quantum fluctuations (or traces of) that have been blown up by the sheer speed of expansion at that particular time. this is one interesting thing they can see.
          on the basis of various correlations they can also impose limits on string theories. the various models have some parameters, and these measurements put bounds on those parameters.

          any FTL traveling was actually relative motion between pieces that were far away from each other; since quantum fluctuations can be seen, it's obvious something like this happened. You are right in assuming this can't probably be used for tricks.
          but, since this research will lead to a better model of the universe, (think of it as the mother of all experiments, because they are actually measuring the big bang), it is more than likely that any possible FTL tricks we'll ever find will be related in some way to these studies.

          for anyone spotting mistakes: please feel free to reveal them. I aim to understand, so I need to be told when I'm being an idiot.

          • by radtea (464814) on Monday July 05, 2010 @12:29PM (#32801126)

            for anyone spotting mistakes: please feel free to reveal them.

            There's nothing really to correct, just an additional comment on why this sort of study is interesting: we don't know what drove inflation, nor even exactly when it occured, nor, in point of fact, if it did occur.

            Inflation is by far the most natural mechanism we know of that produces a universe as flat as our own. So on that basis we'd really like for there to have been one. An inflationary era occurs when the rate of expansion of the universe increases with time in the early going, probably due to a phase transition in the vacuum field of an elementary particle.

            We know such phase transitions exist: electro-weak theory is based on the spontaneous breaking of a symmetry that is strictly observed at high energy, in much the same way that the rotational and translational symmetry of a liquid is broken by the process of crystalization as the temperature drops sufficiently for it to become a solid.

            But we know that the electro-weak symmetry breaking was too late to induce the kind of early inflationary era necessary to produce a universe as perfectly balanced between open and closed as the one we see.

            By studying the details of the CMB we can learn more about when and what kind of inflation occured, or in the best case we can find something that is inconsistent with inflation having occured at all, which would be hugely exciting. It would set a big chunk of modern cosmology on its ear. Alternatively, we might be able to pin down specific properties of the phase transition that drove the inflationary era, and distinguish between string-theoretic explanations and more mundane ones.

        • Re: (Score:1, Informative)

          by Anonymous Coward

          "This really excites me, it implies, that there existed conditions in our very own universe where at some point we had faster than light travel. ...if it happened once, its bound to be discovered "how" and potentially exploited to achieve FTL."

          If I understand it at all correctly (maybe not?), nothing ever traveled faster than the speed of light.

          It's just that the speed of light was much faster shortly after the big bang. Since then, the nature of the universe has changed, and the speed of light with it.

      • I agree that would be really cool, but if it takes all the energy in the universe pent up into a single point to create FTL travel, it's probably not going to be very practical. YMMV (in any dimension).
  • I see the Flying Spaghetti Monster in there!
    • by ceoyoyo (59147)

      Compared the the state of the art before this, definitely.

      • Re: (Score:2, Offtopic)

        by Jason Levine (196982)

        NASA regularly releases images whose size dwarfs 1400 x 900. For example, the full size on "A Matter Of Perspective" ( http://www.nasa.gov/multimedia/imagegallery/image_feature_1695.html [nasa.gov] ) is 4,888 x 2,000.

        • by ceoyoyo (59147)

          That's an image from WISE. The WISE telescope images down to wavelengths of 22 microns. Planck's HIGH FREQUENCY detector is sensitive to wavelengths in the range of 300 microns and the low frequency instruments go down to 1 cm. There's a wee bit of a difference there.

  • Are my calculations correct, and is all of the detection band of it on temeperatures under 1K?
  • Am I the only one who wants to see some units?

    I know that we can see the milky way, and that the bright band in the middle is that same milky way... but the night's sky is different in winter and summer, and it's different on both hemispheres.

    In other words: the galaxy is all around us, and I want to know what part is where.

    A good graph has units and numbers, you insensitive clods.

    • Re: (Score:1, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Look at the bbc article. There is a check box on top of the image that shows where some things you may know are on the maps.

      Also : http://www.esa.int/esaSC/SEMF2FRZ5BG_index_1.html

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by tomzyk (158497)

      A good graph has units and numbers, you insensitive clods

      Uhhh I don't There's no "graph" here. It's a 2-dimensional picture of a 3-dimensional universe. Closer objects will appear bigger than further away objects. You can't exactly draw a "1 cm = 1,000 light years" bar on this image.

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