Planck receives its final command

Europe’s Planck satellite has been turned off after nearly 4.5 years of soaking up the relic radiation from the Big Bang and studying the formation of stars and galaxies throughout fourteen billion years of cosmic history. Since its launch in 2009, Planck has been mapping the entire sky to observe the afterglow of the Big […]

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 […]

500 days of scanning

Planck started scanning the sky on 14th August 2009, and is still going 500 days later.  Once every minute, Planck has spun on its axis to map rings around the sky.  Now well into its third sky survey, Planck is more than half-way through its mission, and is mapping the sky at nine different wavelengths […]

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 […]

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 […]