The oldest light in the universe, called the cosmic microwave background, as observed by the Planck space telescope is shown in the oval sky map. An artist's concept of Planck is next to the map.
The cosmic microwave background was imprinted on the sky when the universe was just 380,000 years old. It shows tiny temperature fluctuations that correspond to regions of slightly different densities, representing the seeds of all future structure: the stars and galaxies of today.
Planck is a European Space Agency mission, with significant participation from NASA. NASA's Planck Project Office is based at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif. JPL contributed mission-enabling technology for both of Planck's science instruments. European, Canadian and U.S. Planck scientists work together to analyze the Planck data.