Astronomy Today

Microwave Telescopes

What is the Planck space observatory?

The Planck mission is a satellite launched by the European Space Agency in 2009, on the same rocket as the Herschel infrared space telescope. Scientifically, it is the successor to the COBE and WMAP satellites, and is designed to study in further detail the anisotropies in the cosmic microwave background. Named in honor of the German physicist Max Planck (1858–1947), this spacecraft is currently located at the Earth-Sun L2 Lagrange point and is yielding valuable information about hot intergalactic gas, the development of the infant universe, and the birth of cosmic structure.


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