This graphic illustrates the evolution of satellites designed to measure ancient light leftover from the big bang that created our universe 13.8 billion years ago; NASA's COBE Explorer (left) and WMAP (middle), and ESA's Planck (right).
This map shows the oldest light in our universe, as detected with the greatest precision yet by ESA's Planck mission. The ancient light, called the cosmic microwave background, was imprinted on the sky when the universe was 370,000 years old.
This image of the microwave sky was synthesized using data spanning the range of light frequencies detected by ESA's Planck. A vast portion of the sky is dominated by the diffuse emission from gas and dust in our Milky Way galaxy.
Galactic Haze seen by Planck and Galactic 'Bubbles' seen by Fermi
This all-sky image shows the distribution of the galactic haze seen by ESA's Planck mission at microwave frequencies superimposed over the high-energy sky, as seen by NASA's Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope.
This map illustrates the numerous star-forming clouds, called cold cores, that European Space Agency's Planck observed throughout our Milky Way galaxy. Planck detected around 10,000 of these cores, thousands of which had never been seen before.
Tones represents sound waves that traveled through the early universe, and were later 'heard' by ESA's Planck space telescope. The primordial sound waves have been translated into frequencies we can hear.
ESA's Planck mission has imaged the oldest light in our universe. The top map shows Planck's all-sky map of the cosmic microwave background, whereas the bottom map shows the largest-scale features of the map.