The European Space Agency’s Planck space observatory was launched in 2009 together with the Herschel satellite. Planck's objective is to analyse, with the highest accuracy ever achieved, the remnants of the radiation that filled the Universe immediately after the Big Bang (Cosmic Microwave Background – CMB).
Equipped with two instruments (the High and Low Frequency Instruments, HFI and LFI), the Planck mission will image both polarisation and temperature anisotropies in the CMB with high angular resolution. This will allow the investigation of initial conditions for structure evolution, the origin of primordial gravitational waves, the theories of inflation of the Universe, the existence of topological defects and the nature of dark matter and dark energy. STFC supported the development and construction of the instrumentation and supports science exploitation.
Support for operation of Planck is funded by the UK Space Agency
(UKSA), which is an executive agency of the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS). UKSA works with STFC which funds researchers to exploit the scientific data yielded by Planck.
Imperial College London
STFC Rutherford Appleton Laboratory
University of Cambridge