Tuesday, 6 July 2010

The microwave sky

This image show below is a map of the whole sky as seen by the space mission Planck. This mission was launched in 2009 and is part of ESA's Cosmic Vision Programme. It is designed to image the anisotropies of the Cosmic Background Radiation (the "afterglow" of the Big Bang) over the whole sky with unprecedented accuracy.

The bright line bisecting the picture is the contribution from our own galaxy, viewed edge-on. The intense light comes from the radiation released by the interstellar dust and gas clouds.
Planck will test theories of the evolution of the universe and the origin of cosmic structure as well as provide insights into the nature of dark matter.