ESA's Planck mission has delivered its first all-sky image. It not only provides new insight into the way stars and galaxies form but also tells us how the universe itself came to life after the Big Bang.
|The microwave sky as seen by Planck|
''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.''
The microwave sky as seen by Planck with previous releases
From the closest portions of the Milky Way to the furthest reaches of space and time, the new all-sky Planck image is an extraordinary treasure chest of new data for astronomers.
The main disc of our Galaxy runs across the centre of the image. Immediately striking are the streamers of cold dust reaching above and below the Milky Way.