Planck maps the sky in nine frequencies using two state-of-the-art
instruments, designed to produce high-sensitivity, multi-frequency
measurements of the diffuse sky radiation. 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.
While the Milky Way shows us what the local Universe looks like now,
the cosmic microwave background radiation show us what the Universe
looked like close to its time of creation, before there were stars or
galaxies. This pattern is the cosmic blueprint from which
today’s clusters and superclusters of galaxies were built. The
different colours represent minute differences in the temperature and
density of matter across the sky. Somehow these small irregularities
evolved into denser regions that became the galaxies of today.
Planck continues to map the Universe. By the end of its mission in
2012, it will have completed four all-sky scans. The first full data
release of the cosmic microwave background radiation is planned for
2012. Before then, the catalogue containing individual objects in our
Galaxy and whole distant galaxies will be released in January 2011.
ESA Press Release