All-sky Image of Molecular Gas and Three Molecular Cloud Complexes seen by Planck

Planck_planck12-001a_1024

planck_planck12-001a February 13th, 2012

Credit: ESA/NASA/Planck Collaboration

This all-sky image shows the distribution of carbon monoxide (CO), a molecule used by astronomers to trace molecular clouds across the sky, as seen by Planck.

Molecular clouds, the dense and compact regions throughout the Milky Way where gas and dust clump together, represent one of the sources of foreground emission seen by Planck. The vast majority of gas in these clouds consists of molecular hydrogen, and it is in these cold regions that stars are born. Since cold molecular hydrogen does not easily radiate, astronomers trace these cosmic cribs across the sky by targeting other molecules, which are present there in very low abundance but radiate quite efficiently. The most important of these tracers is CO, which emits a number of rotational emission lines in the frequency range probed by Planck's High Frequency Instrument.

Emission lines affect a very limited range of frequencies compared to the broad range to which each of Planck's detectors is sensitive, and are usually observed using spectrometers. But some CO lines are so bright, they actually dominate the total amount of light collected by certain detectors on Planck when they are pointed towards a molecular cloud.

This is the first all-sky map of CO ever compiled. The largest CO surveys thus far have concentrated on mapping the full extent of the Galactic Plane, where most clouds are concentrated, leaving large areas of the sky unobserved.

Image Source: http://planck.ipac.caltech.edu/image/planck12-001a

Curator: NASA Planck Science Center, Pasadena, CA, USA

Image Use Policy: Public Domain

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Image Details

Image Type
Observation
Object Name
Milky Way
Subject - Milky Way
Galaxy » Component » Disk

Color Mapping

  Telescope Spectral Band Wavelength
Arrow_left_ Planck -
Planck_planck12-001a_1280
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ID
planck12-001a
Subject Category
B.5.4.3  
Subject Name
Milky Way
Credits
ESA/NASA/Planck Collaboration
Lightyears
Redshift
Reference Url
http://planck.ipac.caltech.edu/image/planck12-001a
Type
Observation
Image Quality
Good
Distance Notes
Facility
Planck
Instrument
Color Assignment
Band
Bandpass
Central Wavelength
Start Time
Integration Time
Dataset ID
Notes
Coordinate Frame
Equinox
Reference Value
Reference Dimension
Reference Pixel
Scale
Rotation
Coordinate System Projection:
Quality
FITS Header
Notes
Creator (Curator)
NASA Planck Science Center
URL
http://planck.ipac.caltech.edu
Name
Email
Telephone
Address
1200 E. California Blvd.
City
Pasadena
State/Province
CA
Postal Code
91125
Country
USA
Rights
Public Domain
Publisher
Publisher ID
planck
Resource ID
Resource URL
/image/planck/planck12-001a
Related Resources
Metadata Date
2018-01-19T22:30:45Z
Metadata Version
1.2
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Detailed color mapping information coming soon...

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