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Paris, 5 February 2015

Planck reveals the dynamic side of the Universe

The Planck collaboration, which includes the CNRS, the French Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission (CEA), the French National Space Agency (CNES) and several French universities and institutions, has today released data from four years of observation by the European Space Agency (ESA)'s Planck spacecraft. The aim of the Planck mission is to study the Cosmic Microwave Background, the light left over from the Big Bang. The measurements, taken in nine frequency bands, were used to map not only the temperature of the radiation but also its polarization1, which provides additional information about both the very early Universe (when it was 380,000 years old) and our Galaxy's magnetic field. The data and the accompanying articles have been submitted to the journal Astronomy & Astrophysics, and are available on ESA's website2. This information will enable scientists to better determine the matter and energy content of the Universe, the age of the birth of the first stars, and the rate at which space is expanding.

To download the press release: Planck

Notes:

1Polarization is a property of light in the same way as color or direction of propagation. Although this property is invisible to the human eye, it is familiar to us (e.g. sunglasses with polarized lenses or 3D glasses for the cinema). A propagating light beam actually results from tiny vibrations of an electric field and a magnetic field. When the electric field oscillates preferentially in a given direction we say that the light is polarized. Certain physical phenomena produce polarized light naturally, which is the case for the Cosmic Microwave Background. The polarization is measured by two instruments on board the spacecraft in seven channels ranging from 30 to 353 GHz. Information is currently available for four out of the seven channels: in the three channels of the low-frequency instrument and in the 353 GHz channel of the high-requency instrument.
2The findings are available from View web site

Contacts:

CNRS researchers
Jean-Loup Puget l T +33 (0)1 69 85 86 65 l jean-loup.puget@ias.u-psud.fr
François Bouchet l T +33 (0)1 44 32 80 95 l bouchet@iap.fr
François Boulanger | T +33 (0)1 69 85 85 73 | francois.boulanger@ias.u-psud.fr
Ludovic Montier | T +33 (0)5 61 55 65 51 | ludovic.montier@irap.omp.eu
Cécile Renault l T +33 (0)4 76 28 40 13 l cecile.renault@lpsc.in2p3.fr

CNRS Press Office l Loïc Bommersbach | T +33 (0)1 44 96 51 51 | presse@cnrs.fr


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