Space telescope switched off

The Planck space observatory has been deactivated after reaching the end of its mission. Researchers in Cardiff built one of the telescope's instruments. The telescope helped scientists to gain a better understanding of the universe and its origins.

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Planck telescope provided 'baby photo' of the Universe

An artist's impression of the Planck spacecraft Credit: ESA - C. Carreau

The Planck observatory spent four and a half years studying the evolution of stars and galaxies.

It was designed to detect faint traces of radiation from the Big Bang – also known as the Cosmic Microwave Background (CMB).

“Planck has provided us with more insight into the evolution of the Universe than any mission has before,” says Alvaro Giménez, ESA’s Director of Science and Robotic Exploration.

“Planck’s picture of the CMB is the most accurate ‘baby photo’ of the Universe yet, but the wealth of data still being scrutinised by our cosmologists will provide us with even more details.”

Planck helped scientists map cosmic gas Credit: ESA/Planck Collaboration

Planck space telescope officially switched off

The Planck space telescope, built with expertise from Cardiff University, has been deactivated by the European Space Agency after reaching the end of its mission.

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Planck space telescope to be switched off today

Planck against its all-sky map of the CMB. Credit: ESA and the Planck Collaboration - D. Ducros

A telescope built with expertise from Cardiff University will be switched off today.

Planck has been scanning the sky to map the relic radiation from the Big Bang, the Cosmic Microwave Background or CMB.

Researchers in Cardiff built one of the telescope's instruments.

During its mission, the telescope has helped scientists to gain a better understanding of the universe and its origins, revealing the universe is older than previously thought at 13.8 billion years.

Mission controllers have fired Planck's thrusters to empty its fuel tanks. Now its on its way to a "parking" orbit around the sun.

Today its transmitters will be switched off and Planck will fall silent.

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