Planck HFI mission draws to a close

After an impressive two and a half years of operation, Planck’s High Frequency Instrument has finally exhausted its onboard coolant gases and reached the end of its very successful mission. Meanwhile the Low Frequency Instrument, which does not need to be super-cold, will continue taking data with unprecedented sensitivity at longer wavelengths. Planck’s primary mission …

Planck image voted 7th best science story of 2010

The release of Planck’s first image of the whole sky has been voted the 7th best science story of 2010 by Discover Magazine.  The magazine compiled a list of the best stories from the whole of science – from astronomy to biology, and from robotics to genetics. In July, the first image of the whole sky from Planck was released, combining …

The Excitement Builds, Naturally

The scientific journal Nature has listed Planck as one of its key events of 2010.  The folks at Nature are as excited as we are about the first images from Planck and can’t wait for more – though the full results will come a couple of years later.  As ever, watch this space! In April, Planck will mark …

Is it a bird, is it a plane…no it’s the Planck satellite

The Planck satellite is not only being monitored by the mission controllers at the Mission Operations Centre.  It is also being watched by optical astronomers, who have captured images of the satellite against the starry background.  There are two methods of doing this, one is to stare at the area of sky which the spacecraft …

Royal Society Exhibition Photos

At the start of July, around 40 members of the Herschel and Planck teams represented these missions to the public at the Royal Society Summer Science Exhibition.  It was great to attend at explain what we’re doing and why we do it to interested people. A lot of planning goes into such exhibits, and it …

Planck and Herschel win Grand Prize

The teams behind Planck and Herschel have been awarded the “Grand Prix 2010” by the French Association for Aeronautics and Astronautics (AAAF), to acknowledge their “outstanding space endeavours”.  The prize was awarded on 9th June 2010 in Paris, and senior members of the teams behind both of these groundbreaking missions were there to collect the award on behalf of …