ESA's Planck Spacecraft
Milky Way Galaxy in Microwaves
Milky Way Dust - Planck Map
A View of the Milky Way in Microwaves
All the Matter in the Universe by Planck
Planck's All-Sky Map: Cosmic Microwave Background
Planck's Ingredients of the Universe
Planck's All-Sky Map: Cosmic Microwave Background Anomalies
Planck's All-Sky Map vs. Standard Model
Planck All-Sky Image of Carbon Monoxide
Galactic Haze Seen by Planck and Galactic 'Bubbles' Seen by Fermi
Galactic Haze Seen by Planck
Planck All-Sky Image Superimposition
Cepheus Molecular Cloud Complex
All-Sky Distribution of Carbon Monoxide
All-sky Distribution of Carbon Monoxide (CO).
Taurus Molecular Cloud Complex
Molecular Clouds in the Pegasus Region
Planck's Microwave Sky
The mottled structure of the cosmic microwave background, with its tiny temperature fluctuations reflecting the primordial density variations from which today’s cosmic structure originated, is clearly visible in the high-latitude regions of the map. The central band is the plane of our Galaxy. A large portion of the image is dominated by the diffuse emission from its gas and dust. The image was derived from data collected by Planck during its first all-sky survey and comes from observations taken between August 2009 and June 2010. This image is a low- resolution version of the full data set.
Planck's Orbit at L2
Sky Tapestry by Planck Spacecraft
The Planck Mission
Planck's instruments will operate at a few degrees above absolute zero. To achieve this, a series of cooling stages are required. Without any additional cooling, the spacecraft itself can passively cool to around 50 K (about -223ºC).
For the Low Frequency Instrument (LFI) the focal plane is cooled to around 20 K (about -253ºC). The signals received in the instrument horns are amplified and passed through waveguides to a back-end unit (which is at around 300 K, or about 27ºC) where the signals are processed.
The High Frequency Instrument (HFI) unit is more compact and sits entirely within the LFI housing at about 18 K (about -255ºC). The bolometers (devices for measuring incident electromagnetic radiation) are then stage cooled to just 0.1 K (-273.14ºC) with the detected signals again processed in a warmer back-end readout and data processing unit.
Isolating the various components and cooling only small volumes to the coldest temperatures the optimum efficiencies and mission achieve lifetime.
Planck's Space Detectors
The two instruments detect the collected radiation in different ways. LFI is designed to convert the lower energy microwaves into electrical voltages, rather like a transistor radio. HFI works by converting the higher energy microwaves to heat, which is then measured by a tiny electrical thermometer. The instruments share a common telescope.