Media representatives are invited to a briefing on new observations of the Milky Way and other galaxies by ESA's Planck mission.
The media briefing is being organised by the Italian space agency, ASI, and the Italian National Institute for Astrophysics (INAF) at the Area della Ricerca CNR, Bologna, Italy on 13 February at 11:00–12:30 CET.
Between 13 and 17 February, scientists from ESA and several European astronomy institutes will present new findings from Planck and other experiments.
Planck's goal is to measure the 'cosmic microwave background radiation', the first light in the Universe left over from a time just 380 000 years after the Big Bang created the cosmos we live in.
From this most accurate map to date of the background radiation we expect to learn a great deal about the birth, early evolution and ultimate fate of the Universe.
Planck was launched in May 2009, and has observed the sky continuously for more than 30 months, more than twice its required life.
One of Planck's instruments will continue to return data for a large part of 2012. Planck's first cosmological results will be released in early 2013.
To build the map of the early Universe, emissions produced by objects much closer to us must first be identified and removed. Removed – but not thrown away.
These foreground emissions originate mainly from our own Galaxy but also from other, more distant ones. They are a scientific treasure trove, allowing astronomers across the world to gain new insights into our Galaxy and the Universe.
The new results presented at the media briefing will include an all-sky map of carbon monoxide emission in the Milky Way, and a map of a mysterious component of our Galaxy referred to as the 'haze'.