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CITA Professors announce first scientific results of Planck satellite mission

This will shed light on star-forming galaxies; reveals presence of dark gas.

University of Toronto astronomers are in Paris today (January 11) as part of an international conference announcing the first scientific results of the Plank space telescope mission.

Launched in May, 2009, the telescope has nearly completed three of its four planned surveys of the entire sky, providing astronomers a glimpse of conditions near the beginning of the universe and providing data that will help answer the big questions: How was the universe formed? How has it evolved to its present form? And what shape will it take in future?

The most sensitive telescope ever designed to study the cosmic microwave background --the remnants of radiation from the Big Bang some 13 billion years ago and the oldest source of light in the universe -- Planck's detectors measure the temperature of this light, searching for regions that are slightly warmer or colder than the average. These small fluctuations in temperature, called anisotropies, provided the seeds for the formation of galaxies that exist today.

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Published: January 11, 2011