The Planck satellite was launched in May of 2009, reaching its orbit by February 2010, when the satellite immediately started its all-sky survey. On 21 March 2013, the mission's all-sky map of the cosmic microwave background was released.
The mission has the following objectives:
Planck represents an advance over previous measurement satellites in several respects:
- It has three times higher resolution.
- It has ten times the sensitivity.
- It observes in 9 frequency bands rather than 5.
|The COBE satellite was the first to measure the cosmic microwave background radiation in 1992. The resolution was very low and the results more or less vague, as can be seen in the comparison image below (COBE vs Planck).|
Planck's new numbers
- 4.9% of the universe contains normal matter - atoms, the stuff from which we are all made
- 26.8% of the universe is dark matter - the unseen material holding galaxies together
- 68.3% of the universe is dark energy - the mysterious component accelerating cosmic expansion. The number for dark energy is lower than previously estimated
- The new age of the universe is now estimated at 13.82 billion years, This number was calculated from the data, which indicates a slower expansion than previously thought.