31/03/2015: Enigmatic high-redshift galaxies discovered by Planck and Herschel
Many new and enigmatic high redshift galaxies that are intensively forming stars have been discovered using ESA's Planck and Herschel satellites . These galaxies occur in clumps - and could be the long-sought formation phase of galaxy clusters. Some appear very bright, and have been found to be gravitationally lensed galaxies. These rapidly star-forming galaxies could help solve a central problem in cosmology: how did the large scale structure of galaxies form?
From the standpoint of galaxy evolution, studying the intense star-formation epoch in massive dark-matter halos will provide a wealth of information on the kinematics and evolutionary history of galaxies in massive galaxy clusters. For cosmology, galaxy clusters tell us about the baryon content of the Universe, the role of dark matter in the assembly of large scale structure, and provides insights into possible deviations from our simple, Gaussian, model of the early universe. This means that the search for distant galaxy clusters and/or galaxies amplified by gravitational lensing is a very hot topic. ESA's Planck satellite can find these rare objects over the entire sky, while ESA's Herschel space observatory can scrutinize them in fine detail.
The Planck all-sky observed at 545 GHz (bottom), with black dots indicating the location of our high-redshift candidates, observed by Herschel. The images around show Herschel/SPIRE observations, where contours represent the galaxy density. Dole, Guéry, Hurier, ESA, Planck Collab., HFI consotrium, IAS, CNES, Univ. Paris-Sud, CNRS
05/02/2015: Planck reveals that the first stars were born late
New maps from ESA's Planck satellite uncover the "polarised" light from the early Universe across the entire sky, revealing that the first stars formed much later than previously thought.
Between 2009 and 2013, Planck surveyed the sky to study this ancient light in unprecedented detail. Tiny differences in the background's temperature trace regions of slightly different density in the early cosmos, representing the seeds of all future structure, the stars and galaxies of today.
Scientists from the Planck collaboration have published the results from the analysis of these data in a large number of scientific papers over the past two years, confirming the standard cosmological picture of our Universe with ever greater accuracy.
Read the complete news on ESA website.
30/01/2015: Planck: Gravitation waves remain elusive.
Despite earlier reports of a possible detection, a joint analysis of data from ESA's Planck satellite and the ground-based BICEP2 and Keck Array experiments has found no conclusive evidence of primordial gravitational waves.
This image shows a patch of the southern sky and is based on observations performed by ESA's Planck satellite at microwave and sub-millimetre wavelengths. The colour scale represents the emission from dust, a minor but crucial component of the interstellar medium that pervades our Milky Way galaxy. The texture, instead, indicates the orientation of the Galactic magnetic field. It is based on measurements of the direction of the polarised light emitted by the dust. The highlighted region shows the position of a small patch of the sky that was observed with two ground-based experiments at the South Pole, BICEP2 and the Keck Array. © ESA/Planck Collaboration. Acknowledgment: M.-A. Miville-Deschênes, CNRS - Institut d'Astrophysique Spatiale, Université Paris-XI, Orsay, France
Read the complete news on ESA website.
1-5/12/2014: Conference to present the new results of Planck.
The conference was dedicated to the scientific results of the second cosmological data release from Planck satellite, on December 1 to 5, 2014, at Palazzo Costabili, in Ferrara, Italy.
The first data release took place in March 2013, comprising only temperature data for the first fifteen months of observation.
The second data release will take place at the beginning of February 2015 and will present data for all Planck sky surveys, in both temperature and polarization.
For more detailled information, please visit the colloquium website.
1/12/2014: Planck: new revelations on dark matter and fossil neutrinos
Planck collaboration, which involves notably CNRS, CEA, CNES and several French universities, reveals the results of four years of observations of ESA's Planck Satellite today during the conference in Ferrara (Italy), dedicated to the study of the "Cosmic Microwave Background" (CMB), the oldest light of the Universe.
From 2009 to 2013, Planck satellite observed the CMB. Nowadays, with the complete analysis of the data, the quality of the resulting map is such that the imprints left by the dark matter and the primordial neutrinos, among other, are clearly visible.
Early, in 2013 the map of the light intensity variations has been revealed, showing the places where the matter was 380,000 years after the Big-Bang. Thanks to the measurements of the polarization of this light (for the moment for 4 of the 7 channels), Planck is able to see how this matter moved. Our vision of the primordial Universe becomes more dynamic. This new dimension and the data quality allow us to test numerous parameters of the standard cosmology model. Particularly, they highlight what is the most insubstantial in the Universe: the dark matter and the neutrinos.
30 by 30 degrees map of the polarized signal at 353 GHz. The colors map the thermal emission of the dust while the reliefs draw the Galactic magnetic field. Credits: ESA- collaboration Planck, highlighted by Marc-Antoine Miville-Deschenes
Read the complete Press Release (in French).
11/2014: Jean-Loup Puget 2014 prizewinner of COSPAR Space Science Medal.
Jean-Loup Puget, HFI-Planck scientific responsible, received the COSPAR medal for 2014. This price of the Committee on Space Research rewards every other year a scientist that brought an exceptional contribution to the space sciences domain.
Read the complete news on Planck website (in French).
19/09/2014: Planck hunts the dust polarized emission up to the galactic poles.
Planck satellite measured the light received from the whole sky in the submillimeter and microwave domain. It doesn't content with telling us which quantity of light comes from a given direction, it also collect other precious information notably related to the polarization. These complementary data are essential to better understand the physics of the source of this light, but we also need to accurately identify this source.
the light arriving in the bolometers of the high frequancy instrument essentially comes from the dust in our Milky Way and from the Cosmic Microwave Background - the other photons with extragalatic origin are usually much less numerous. Is it sufficient to look in the direction of the galactic poles to get a direct access to the Cosmic Microwave Background with a galactic "pollution" totally negligible? It is the question answered by one of the latest article of Planck collaboration, and the answer is no.
This map is build by extrapolating the polarized signal measured at 353 GHz. It is at this frequency observed by Planck that the signal of the dust is the highest. The part of the Cosmic Microwave Background is there negligible. We can thus use its proprieties, defined and validated by an in-depth analysis, to compute the polarized signal of galactic origin at 150 GHz, where the Cosmic Microwave Background signal is expected.
Read the complete news on Planck website (in French).
06/2014: François Bouchet, CNRS reseach Director and Responsible of HFI-Planck scientific exploitation, winner of the 2014 Science Prize of the Fondation Louis D.
La Fondation Louis D.
Created in 1999, the Fondation Louis D., hosted by the "Institut de France", goal is to support associations, fondations, legal persons or non-governmental organizations having "an action with charitative or cultural character, or whose purpose is to encourage research".
The Fondation Louis D. delivers each year two Grands Prix : one Scientific Grand Prix and one Humanitarian or Cultural Grand Prix.
The Scientific Grand Prix
Attributed each year to help laboratories or research teams in their fundamental or applied work, the Scientific Grand Prix of 450 000 euros is open each year alternately to the International of French competition. In 2014, the theme of the Prize was "Cosmology and links with the physics beyond the standard model" and was awarded to François Bouchet, CNRS reseach Director and Responsible of HFI-Planck scientific exploitation, to support its exceptional researches in cosmology, notably in the framework of Planck project.
06/05/2014: Planck takes magnetic fingerprint of our Galaxy
Our Galaxy's magnetic field is revealed in a new image from ESA's Planck satellite. This image was compiled from the first all-sky observations of 'polarised' light emitted by interstellar dust in the Milky Way.
The magnetic field of our Milky Way Galaxy as seen by ESA's Planck satellite. This image was compiled from the first all-sky observations of polarised light emitted by interstellar dust in the Milky Way - Credits: ESA and the Planck Collaboration
Light is a very familiar form of energy and yet some of its properties are all but hidden to everyday human experience. One of these - polarisation - carries a wealth of information about what happened along a light ray's path, and can be exploited by astronomers. Light can be described as a series of waves of electric and magnetic fields that vibrate in directions that are at right angles to each other and to their direction of travel.
Usually, these fields can vibrate at all orientations. However, if they happen to vibrate preferentially in certain directions, we say the light is 'polarised'. This can happen, for example, when light bounces off a reflective surface like a mirror or the sea. Special filters can be used to absorb this polarised light, which is how polarised sunglasses eliminate glare.
In space, the light emitted by stars, gas and dust can also be polarised in various ways. By measuring the amount of polarisation in this light, astronomers can study the physical processes that caused the polarisation. In particular, polarisation may reveal the existence and properties of magnetic fields in the medium light has travelled through.
The map presented here was obtained using detectors on Planck that acted as the astronomical equivalent of polarised sunglasses. Swirls, loops and arches in this new image trace the structure of the magnetic field in our home galaxy, the Milky Way.
Read the complete news on ESA's website.
23/10/2013: Last command sent to ESA's Space telescope Planck
ESA's Planck space telescope has been turned off after nearly 4.5 years soaking up the relic radiation from the Big Bang.
Project scientist Jan Tauber sent the final command to the Planck satellite this afternoon at 12:10:27 UT, marking the end of operations for ESA's "time machine".
Read the complete news on ESA's website.
14/08/2013: LFI Instrument stopped
After 1554 days of mission, Planck satellite stopped its scientific observations on August 14, 2013. If the high frequency instrument HFI - under French prime contractorship - ceased its observations at 0.1 kelvin at the beginning of 2012, the low frequency instrument LFI was functional for nearly 600 additional days.
With eight mappings of the celestial sphere in the millimetric domain, Planck collaboration will have unprecedented maps in this wavelength domain.
The satellite will soon boosted away from its operational orbit around the L2 Sun-Earth Lagrange Point L2 by ESA teams.
02/07/2013: Conference "Planck Mission: the history of the Universe unveilled" at Joseph Fourier University (UJF) in Grenoble
July 2, 2013 at 20h, the labex Focus organized an astrophysics conference at CRDP in Grenoble. Open to all, this exceptional conference gathered three main scientists which helped the success of Planck Mission: Alain Benoît, François Bouchet and Andrea Catalano. Together they reviewed the progresses in our knowledge about the Universe realized thanks to the first results of Planck satellite.
21/03/2013: Presentation of the first cosmologic results of Planck mission as well as its first all-sky images of the Cosmic Microwave Background
ESA's Planck satellite has delivered its first all-sky image of the Cosmic Microwave Background (CMB), bringing with it new challenges about our understanding of the origin and evolution of the cosmos. The image has provided the most precise picture of the early Universe so far.
For the most part, the data agree extremely well with the 'standard model of cosmology' and allow for a much improved measure of its parameters. In the standard model, the Universe is described as homogeneous and isotropic on very large scales, and cosmic structure is the result of the slow growth of tiny density fluctuations that arose immediately after the Big Bang. At the same time, the extraordinary quality of the Planck data reveals the presence of subtle anomalies in the CMB pattern that might challenge the very foundations of cosmology. The most serious anomaly is a deficit in the signal at large angular scales on the sky, which is about ten per cent weaker than the standard model would like it to be. Other anomalous traits that had been hinted at in the past - a significant discrepancy of the CMB signal as observed in the two opposite hemispheres of the sky and an abnormally large 'cold spot' - are confirmed with high confidence. Planck's new image of the CMB suggests that some aspects of the standard model of cosmology may need a rethink, raising the possibility that the fabric of the cosmos, on the largest scales of the observable Universe, might be more complex than we think.
29/10/2012: Planck dicovered a hot gas filament linking two galaxy clusters
While mapping the sky in the microwave and submillimeter domain with PLANCK satellite, astronomers detected without ambiguity a hot gas "bridge" that connects the two galaxy clusters Abell 399 and Abell 401. The filament extends over 10 millions light-years and contains gas at the temperature of about 80 millions degrees. At least a part of this gas could come from the hot intergalactic medium - an evanescent fabric of gaseous filaments that seems to extend in the Universe.
06/2012: Planck satellite genesis
This video has been realized by Jean Mouette for the "Institut d'Astrophysique de Paris" (CNRS - Université Pierre et Marie Curie). This 18 minutes movie gives the opportunity to be conscious of the complexity represented by the construction of a space observatory such as Planck.
13/02/2012: A new step towards understanding the Universe
Thanks to HFI instrument from ESA's mission Planck, an international team from which several CNRS, CEA and French Universities searchers, has just revealed that our Galaxy contains islands of cold gas unknown until now. This result will be presented this week during an international conference in Bologna (Italy) where scientists from all over the world will discuss the intermediate results of Planck mission.
This all-sky image shows the distribution of carbon monoxide (CO), a molecule used by astronomers to trace molecular clouds, as seen by Planck. Some of them, unkown until now, are in areas far away from the Galactic plane. [The great structures in filigree are artifacts from the data processing and are not real] Credits: ESA / Planck collaboration
End of mission for HFI, high frequency instrument of Planck satellite
After 30 months of examplary functioning, the high frequency instrument of the European Space Agency's satellite Planck, is switched off. During nearly 1000 days, its detectors have been the coldest objects of the extraterrestrial Universe, with a final life duration two times longer than schedulled. Planck mission sees a very high participation of French laboratories from CNRS and CEA, supported by CNES.
Read the entire Press Release (in French).
12/2011: Planck special feature in Astronomy & Astrophysics
Planck early results papers, which were submitted to Astronomy & Astrophysics in early January 2011, are now available in a special feature of Astronomy & Astrophysics Vol. 536, December 2011.
03/2011: Planck Early Results Papers
These papers, which have been submitted to Astronomy & Astrophysics in early January 2011, are produced by the Planck Collaboration, and are based on data acquired by Planck between 13 August 2009 and 6 June 2010. This set of papers describes the scientific performance of the Planck payload, and presents results on a variety of astrophysical topics related to the sources included in the ERCSC, as well as selected topics on difuse emission. The papers are available from the arXiv server astro-ph from arXiv:1101.2022 to arXiv:1101.2048.
15/01/2011: Meeting "Planck, a window on the Universe", On Saturday 15 Jaunuary from 15 h to 18 h, at the "Cité des Sciences et de l'Industrie"
11/01/2011: PLANCK satellite delivers its first scientific results
The scientific community waited for 18 months for the data collected by Planck, the European Space Agency's satellite. The first scientific results are available. The first edition of the catalogue of compact sources (ERCSC, Early Release Compact Sources Catalogue) has been published and presented on January 11, with several thousand of sources detected by Planck.
This image illustrates the position in the sky of all thecompact sources, galactic and extragalactic, detected by Planck (ERCSC, Early Release Compact Sources Catalogue) - Credit: ESA/ Planck Collaboration
10-14/01/2011: Planck 2011 conference: "The millimeter and submillimeter sky in the Planck mission era", in Paris, "Cité des Sciences", 10-14 January 2011.
19/11/2010: ESA's Science Programme Committee approuved the new extension of PLANCK mission operations until December 31 2014, subjected to a mid-term review in 2012.
09-10/2010: First publications presenting the pre-launch status of the Planck mission in the review Astronomy and Astrophysics - Vol. 520 (September-October 2010)
09/2010: Planck's first glimpse at galaxy clusters and a new super-cluster
This image shows the newly discovered supercluster of galaxies detected by Planck with the Sunyaev-Zel'dovich Effect.
This image taken by XMM-Newton in X-ray emission, confirms the newly discovered supercluster of galaxies detected by Planck.
Surveying the microwave sky, Planck has obtained its very first images of galaxy clusters, amongst the largest objects in the Universe, by means of the Sunyaev-Zel'dovich effect, a characteristic signature they imprint on the Cosmic Microwave Background. Joining forces in a fruitful collaboration between ESA missions, XMM-Newton followed up Planck's detections and revealed that one of them is a previously unknown supercluster of galaxies...
07/2010: Planck satellite seen from the Earth - Credit: Alain Klotz, CESR - Pictures taken by an automated telescope in Australia.
07/2010: Planck all-sky image depicts galactic mist over the cosmic background
An all-sky image from Planck's recently completed first survey highlights the two major emission sources in the microwave sky: the cosmic background and the Milky Way. The relic radiation coming from the very early Universe is, to a large extent, masked by intervening astronomical sources, in particular by our own Galaxy's diffuse emission. Thanks to Planck's nine frequency channels, and to sophisticated image analysis techniques, it is possible to separate these two contributions into distinct scientific products that are of immense value for cosmologists and astrophysicists, alike.
04/2010: New Planck images highlights the complexity of star formation
The new images from Planck satellite show the interstellar medium, stars, gas and dust clouds conglomeration under differents angles, and reveals new aspects of our galaxy.
The results obtained by Planck mission will enable among other things to understand the formation stars in the Milky Way as well as in other galaxies of the Universe. Planck will thus enable to go back to the Universe infancy, by giving us a quickview of what it was 380 000 ans after the Big Bang, after examination under 9 observation frequencies.
Planck data will be available for the international scientific community by the end of 2012.
The region of sky covered by the Planck images is shown on a view of half the sky as seen in visible and infrared light. The smaller patch corresponds to Orion and the larger to Perseus.
Credit: ESA/LFI & HFI Consortia/STScI DSS
New Planck images trace cold dust and reveal large-scale structure in the Milky Way
New images from ESA's Planck mission reveal details of the structure of the coldest regions in our Galaxy. Filamentary clouds predominate, connecting the largest to the smallest scales in the Milky Way. These images are a scientific by-product of a mission which will ultimately provide the sharpest picture ever of the early Universe.
The Planck image, covering a portion of the sky about 55°, was obtained by the High Frequency Instrument at a frequency of 857 GHz. The dark horizontal band is the plane of our Galaxy, seen in cross-section from our vantage point. The colours represent the intensity of heat radiation by dust.
Credit: ESA and the HFI Consortium, Axel Mellinger
After the satisfying conclusion of the "first light" survey, Planck is declared "fit for duty", which implies that the full sky mapping has already begun.
A map of the whole sky at optical wavelengths shows a prominent horizontal band which is the light shining from our own Milky Way, seen in profile from our vantage point. The superposed false-color strip shows the area of the sky mapped by Planck during the First Light Survey. The color scale indicates the magnitude of the deviations of the temperature of the Cosmic Microwave Background from its average value, as measured by Planck at a frequency close to the peak of the CMB spectrum (red is hotter and blue is colder). The large red strips trace radio emission from the Milky Way, whereas the small bright spots high above the galactic plane correspond to emission from the Cosmic Microwave Background itself.
[Figure credits: LFI & HFI Consortia (Planck), Axel Mellinger (optical)]
09/2009: After the successful satellite commissioning phase in July, and the completion of the FLS (First Light Survey) in August, Planck is now beginning the first survey of the whole sky.
Planck should now observe in routine mode for an uninterrupted period of at least 15 months.
07/2009: The programme entered the Calibration and Performance Verification phase (CPV Phase) for the payload instruments.
The CPV phase includes the pointing capabilities, the satellite sensors calibration, the determination of the instruments performances in every modes, and the initial calibration of the payload instruments. At the end of this phase (end of July) should begin the First Light Survey (FLS) until August 12, first survey of the mission.
Depending on the FLS results, some parameters could still evolve. The PLANCK routine mission could then begin and the FLS could in fact be the begining of the routine mission if nothing has been changed after the FLS.
03/07/2009: Planck, the coolest spacecraft ever in orbit around L2
Last night, the detectors of Planck's High Frequency Instrument reached their amazingly low operational temperature of -273.05°C, making them the coldest known objects in space. The spacecraft has also just entered its final orbit around the second Lagrange point of the Sun-Earth system, L2.
22/06/2009: Planck satellite manoeuvre aims at L2 arrival.
Planck, is still in cooling phase for the instruments with the first acquisitions planned in July (see figures for the temperature and the position).
21/05/2009: Herschel and Planck commissioning has begun.
14/05/2009: Successful launch of Herschel and Planck satellites!
02/2009 - 04/2009: Launch campaign
19/02/2009: Planck arrival at CSG/Kourou
02/2009: Space Conversation "Planck and the great history of the Universe" (in french)
mid-09/2008 - 02/2009: Transfer at ESTEC, alignment, satellite functional tests, SVT2, leak tests, launch aptitude review, satellite put in a container for its transfer to Kourou
12/2008: Launch aptitude review
05/2008 - mid-09/2008: SVT1, SOVT1 complements tests, thermal tests at CSL Liège, IST2 (more information)
07/2008: Radio Frequency RF qualification campaign (more information)
05/2008: Transfer at CSL Liège
09/2007 - 05/2008: RFQM tests, end of the satellite FM integration, platform - data base - flight software tests, IST1, EMC, SVT1 satellite tests, mechanical tests
18-19-20/06/2007: PLANCK Consortium Meeting 2007 in Toulouse (more information)
05/2007 - 09/2007: Payload integration and warm functional tests
04/10/2006: Nobel Prize for physics to Cosmology
The 2006 Nobel Prize for physics has been awarded to Americans John C. Mather et George F. Smoot for their work on NASA's COsmic Background Explorer (COBE) satellite launched in 1989. (more information)