Milky Way, the galaxy were our own solar system resides has always been a fascinating mystery to space experts in particular but also to most of us. Seen from Earth it doesn’t give out much and looks like a dim sparkling band, formed of a smudge of non-discernable stars. But some recently released maps might change that view as they depict a detailed image of the vast galaxy that we know it encloses no less than 100 billion planets and 200 – 400 billion stars.
The maps are to a great extent based on data collected by the European Space Agency’s (ESA) Planck space observatory, and delineate the variety of the Milky Way’s elements like the magnetic fields or the gas and dust units. The pictures very detailed and display four unique color symbols (red for dust, yellow for gas, green for high energy molecules and blue for magnetic field), which all join to make an all covering , mosaic-like map.
In order to be able to get these staggering pictures, the ESA’s $795 million Planck shuttle circled our planet from 2009 to 2013 dousing up remnant light from the Big Bang, otherwise known as the Cosmic Microwave Background (CMB).
As indicated by Charles Lawrence, the U.S. venture researcher for the mission at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California, Planck can identify the old light from the universe’s appearance, gas and dust in our cosmic system, and about everything between the two, either in a direct way or by its impact on the old light.
With the help of Planck analysts want to gather information that would basically allow them to take a look back in time, 370,000 years following the Big Bang.
Charles Lawrence remarked:
“The cosmic microwave background light is a traveler from far away and long ago. When it arrives, it tells us about the whole history of our universe.”
Today, exploring the CMB keeps on helping researchers address questions regarding our beginnings. For instance, when did the first stars begun to structure and how?
Luckily, the Planck can likewise solve that puzzle. As indicated by new information gathered by the space apparatus, stars are really a lot younger than beforehand suspected: 100 million years younger to be precise.
Also, data from the Planck satellite has not revealed any clues of gravitational waves in CMB. This result has challenged the notorious BICEP2 report talking about the discovery of gravitational waves last March. Nevertheless, Planck’s latest data doesn’t mean the end of speculations behind expansion theory or the end of gravitational waves. Space experts even suggest that the hunt is expected to increment over the nearing months and years.
Image Source: NASA