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Visualizing The Cosmic Microwave Background (CMB)

Visualization of THE CMB data from the Planck Space Craft

Online  —  This is an image created from the raw data from the Planck mission of the intensity fluctuations in the cosmic microwave background.

Visit TheCMB.org to see the real thing and enable its size and orientation almost at will. It is quite amazing and a fantastic visual creation from the raw space data.

At the highest resolution it includes 50 million pixels of information.

For a selection of scientific papers on the subject see this paperscape graph.

For some commentary on Planck’s results, try the blog entries here, here or here.

See the Planck Chromoscope for flat 2D maps.

The raw data is tiled over a sphere using the Healpix scheme. WebGL and the three.js library are used for rendering.

For questions about this website you can contact Damien George.

The content from the source of this post’s image and much of the wording thus far, is the website thecmb.org by Damien P. George is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License.

Planck is Europe’s first mission to study the relic radiation from the Big Bang.

The temperature of this CMB radiation has already been measured as approximately 2.7 K, but Planck will provide even more precise measurements with an accuracy set by fundamental astrophysical limits.

In other words, it will be impossible to ever take better images of this radiation than those obtained from Planck.

Scientists also know from previous observations that slightly hotter or colder patches – anisotropies – appear in the sky, different by one part in 100 000. These differences in temperature are the imprints left in the CMB by the primeval ‘seeds’ of today’s huge concentrations of matter – galaxies and galaxy clusters, for example.

Planck’s high sensitivity will result in the best ever map of anisotropies in the CMB, enabling scientists to learn more about the evolution of structure in the Universe.

To complete these highly sensitive measurements, Planck observes in nine wavelength bands, from one centimetre to one third of a millimetre, corresponding to a range of wavelengths from microwaves to the very far infrared.

Planck’s detectors are cooled to temperatures very close to the absolute zero, otherwise their own emission of heat will spoil the measurements.

Planck launched on 14 May 2009 on an Ariane 5 from ESA’s Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana. It shared a ride into orbit with ESA’s Herschel spacecraft. The two spacecraft now operate independently.

Planck operates from a Lissajous orbit around the second Lagrangian point of the Sun–Earth system (L2), a virtual point located 1.5 million km from Earth in the direction opposite to the Sun.
Planck’s cruise to L2.

More online at http://www.esa.int/Our_Activities/Space_Science/Planck/Planck_highlights



Semi-retired industrial physicist with more than 40 years of experience in Thermal Infrared Temperature and other measurement technologies, measurement quality assurance, calibration & standards and has been a niche website developer and publisher since 1997.

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