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Space Science

Planck Satellite Releases First Images 59

davecl writes "The Planck Satellite has released its first images. These are from the 'First Look Survey' and show a strip of the sky scanned at a range of radio and submillimetre wavelengths. The results are already better than what was seen by the previous microwave background satellite, WMAP. More details and images available in English and French. The Planck Mission Blog contains more details of the project and continuing coverage. I maintain the mission blog but even I am impressed with these first images!"
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Planck Satellite Releases First Images

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  • by BeardedChimp ( 1416531 ) on Thursday September 17, 2009 @09:48AM (#29452903)
    I was involved for a while with a project within Manchester university where they were looking to map some of the cmb on the cheap using students/postgrads and a few Professors combined with some off the shelf tech.

    To cut down on costs we were going to use the receivers from sky's satellite dishes since theres millions of the things, combined with a form of interference.
    My job was supposed to be (until I suddenly was swamped with other responsibilities and had to leave the project) to write the code that would create montecarlo simulations of the project.
    Was a while ago since I left I wonder how they have gotten on with it now.
  • From TFA (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 17, 2009 @09:57AM (#29453001)

    The detectors are looking for variations in the temperature of the Cosmic Microwave Background that are about a million times smaller than one degree â" this is comparable to measuring from Earth the body heat of a rabbit sitting on the Moon.

    The body heat of a rabbit sitting on the moon? Interesting example.

  • Very nice resolution. I can't wait to see further output from the project.
  • by russotto ( 537200 ) on Thursday September 17, 2009 @10:37AM (#29453359) Journal
    ...if my first thought was "Planck? That's an awfully small satellite."
    • by Chemisor ( 97276 )

      With NASA's budget the way it is, that's all we could afford...

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by davecl ( 233127 )

        Planck is actually an ESA mission, not NASA. Though our US colleagues have made significant contributions the bulk of the funding, the launch etc. has come from Europe.

  • by Thagg ( 9904 ) <> on Thursday September 17, 2009 @10:58AM (#29453577) Journal

    I am very curious to see Planck's resolution compared to the W-MAP. Just zoom into a bit of the map, and show them side by side, that's all I ask! They do have some nice zooms of the map on the french-language site, and I suppose if I wasn't so lazy I could find the corresponding sections in the W-MAP output. I know that Planck can detect the polarization of the CMB, I'm just dying to see what that will show us!

    I've read several times that while Planck has many times the resolution and sensitivity of the W-MAP probe, there's really no more information to be gained beyond Planck. It will give us almost every bit of information that the cosmic background radiation has for us. It's kind of amazing, really.

  • More details and images available in English and French.

    What's the difference between an English image and a French image?

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Chris Burke ( 6130 )

      What's the difference between an English image and a French image?

      The French images are red-shifted.

  • I was left wondering about the scan pattern shown in the animation "Planck scanning the sky". I have no idea if it matches what the satellite actually does, but if it does then it seems they would gain a much better image at 'the center of the galaxy' by altering the axis of the scan pattern so the 'poles' of the scan point to it. In the animation the scanning 'poles' are currently aimed at the the section in the galaxy with the least information (the very top and bottom of the light survey image), and it

    • by davecl ( 233127 ) on Thursday September 17, 2009 @12:05PM (#29454453)

      The poles of the scan are actually the ecliptic poles, perpendicular to the plane of the planets within the solar system. This is set by the fact that Planck rotates with it's bottom pointing towards the line that joins the earth and the sun from it's position at the second Lagrange point. This ensures that earth and sunlight never impinge on it's sensitive detectors and helps to keep the whole instrument as cold as possible. The scan geometry is thus quite tightly restricted by these requirements and, as you say, the deepest fields will be at the ecliptic poles.

      We actually don't want to study the centre of the galaxy with Planck as the galaxy is the major foreground contaminant to the CMB data. Fortunately the eclptic poles aren't aligned wiht the centre of the galaxy.

  • Your red-bluish widdle-waddle is important to science, I know, but that bitchin' hires-photo of our galaxy that you pair it with would make a nice skybox for compiz-fusion...wink-wing...nudge-nudge...y'know what I mean?
  • Image*s*??? (Score:3, Funny)

    by 3waygeek ( 58990 ) on Thursday September 17, 2009 @01:22PM (#29455629)

    I'd expect the Planck satellite to provide just one very small constant image.

Exceptions prove the rule, and wreck the budget. -- Miller