The Universe Comes into Sharper Focus

Planck_planck13-001b_1024

planck_planck13-001b March 21st, 2013

Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/ESA

This graphic illustrates the evolution of satellites designed to measure ancient light leftover from the big bang that created our universe 13.8 billion years ago. Called the cosmic microwave background, this light reveals secrets of the universe's origins, fate, ingredients and more.

The three panels show 10-square-degree patches of all-sky maps created by space-based missions capable of detecting the cosmic microwave background. The first spacecraft, launched in 1989, is NASA's Cosmic Background Explorer, or COBE (left panel). Two of COBE's principal scientists earned the Nobel Prize in Physics in 2006 for the mission's evidence supporting the big bang theory, and for its demonstration that tiny variations in the ancient light reveal information about the state of the universe.

These variations, called anistotropies, came into sharper focus with NASA's next-generation spacecraft, the Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe, or WMAP (middle panel). This mission, launched in 2001, found strong evidence for inflation, the very early epoch in our universe when it expanded dramatically in size, and measured basic traits of our universe better than ever before.

The most advanced satellite yet of this type is Planck, a European Space Agency mission with significant NASA contributions. Planck, launched in 2009, images the sky with more than 2.5 times greater resolution than WMAP, revealing patterns in the ancient cosmic light as small as one-twelfth of a degree on the sky. Planck has created the sharpest all-sky map ever made of the universe's cosmic microwave background, precisely fine-tuning what we know about the universe.

Planck is a European Space Agency mission, with significant participation from NASA. NASA's Planck Project Office is based at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif. JPL contributed mission-enabling technology for both of Planck's science instruments. European, Canadian and U.S. Planck scientists work together to analyze the Planck data.

Image Source: http://planck.ipac.caltech.edu/image/planck13-001b

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

Image Use Policy: Public Domain

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Image Details

Image Type
Collage
Subject - Distant Universe
Cosmology > Morphology > Cosmic Background

Color Mapping

  Telescope Spectral Band Wavelength
Arrow_left_pseudocolor COBE Millimeter -
Arrow_left_pseudocolor WMAP Millimeter -
Arrow_left_pseudocolor Planck Millimeter -
Planck_planck13-001b_1280
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ID
planck13-001b
Subject Category
D.6.1.3  
Subject Name
Credits
NASA/JPL-Caltech/ESA
Release Date
2013-03-21
Lightyears
Redshift
Reference Url
http://planck.ipac.caltech.edu/image/planck13-001b
Type
Collage
Image Quality
Good
Distance Notes
Facility
COBE, WMAP, Planck
Instrument
Color Assignment
Pseudocolor, Pseudocolor, Pseudocolor
Band
Millimeter, Millimeter, Millimeter
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/planck13-001b
Related Resources
Metadata Date
2018-01-19T01:58:37Z
Metadata Version
1.2
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Detailed color mapping information coming soon...

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There is no distance meta data in this image.