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Image of the Week - What the Planck Telescope found

Image of the Week - What the Planck Telescope found


A new view of the Milky Way. (Click on image to enlarge.) Image courtesy European Space Agency

Last summer, iSGTW did a story on the launch of the European Space Agency's Planck Telescope into orbit. (See Countdown! World's most sophisticated thermometer blasts off into space). Their goal was to survey the "oldest light" in the cosmos.

After six months of collecting data and assembling a map, the 700-million euro observatory created the first full-sky image. It shows what is visible beyond Earth, on instruments sensitive to light at wavelengths much longer than human beings can see.

In the foreground are large segments of our own galaxy, the Milky Way. The bright horizontal line running the full width of the picture is the galactic plane, in which the sun and Earth reside. Above and below the galactic plane are streamers of cold dust, thousands of light-years long.

"It's a spectacular picture; it's a thing of beauty," Planck project scientist Jan Tauber, told the BBC.

-Dan Drollette, iSGTW

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