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Planck Software Development Team

Welcome to Planck at ISDC !

Latest News

Planck published papers

Access the list of Planck published papers provided on the ESA site.

Planck data products

2013-03-21: ESA's Planck Legacy Archive (PLA) is a Java applet to access the maps of the sky provided for the first 15.5 months of the Planck operations. It notably includes full-sky intensity maps at all nine Planck frequencies, maps of foregrounds components at high resolution, and the Cosmic Microwave Background fluctuations at unprecedented angular resolution. Angular power spectra and cosmological parameter grids are also provided, as well as the Planck Catalogue of Compact Sources and the Planck Sunyaev-Zel'dovich clusters catalogue.

2011-01-11: The Planck Early Release Compact Source Catalogue (ERCSC) is a set of catalogues released on 11 January 2011 containing more than about 15'000 compact (point-like or slightly extended) sources detected in the first all-sky survey of Planck. The catalogues can be accessed in an interactive way both from ESA (Java applet) and NASA/IPAC (IRSA WWW tool). A very convenient dditional tool to extract spectra of Planck sources is to use ISDC's HEAVENS WWW interface.
Access the Planck ERCSC using either:

The Planck mission

Planck is a mission of the science program of the European Space Agency (ESA). It was launched in conjunction with another satellite, Herschel, by an Ariane 5 rocket on 14 May 2009.

The main scientific objective of the Planck mission is the detailed study of cosmic microwave background (CMB), radiation emitted just 380 000 years after the Big Bang. This first light of the universe reaches us from all directions of space. In fact, the whole universe is bathed in this primordial light that was shifted from the visible to millimeter and radio waves because of the continued expansion of the universe. This radiation emitted 13.7 billion years ago - the age of the universe - is a key element in cosmology, the study of the universe as a whole. It tells us about the fundamental constituents of the universe and its evolution from the Big Bang to the formation of the first galaxies and stars.

How can we now see the past of the Universe? Indeed, light travels extremely fast, but still at a finite speed (300 000 km/s). So looking far is looking in the past: its seeing the galaxies as they were when they emitted the light we receive today. Thus, Planck by monitoring the CMB observes as well any foreground sources along the line of sight. In front of the tapestry of cosmic background fluctuations, Planck observes distant galaxies, but also and especially our own galaxy, the Milky Way. The image on the right illustrates perfectly how the "boiling" gas and dust (blue-purple) of the plane of our spiral galaxy (the horizontal) masks the background galaxies (some are labeled) and the CMB (red-orange). [Credits: ESA/ LFI & HFI Consortia]

The ISDC contribution to the Planck mission

The ISDC data centre for astrophysics located in Ecogia, Versoix, contributes since the end of 2001 to Planck mission. Its task is to develop and provide the software for the first level of the data processing for one of the two Planck instruments: the Low-Frequency Instrument (LFI).

The system developed at the ISDC has been installed at the LFI Data Processing Center (DPC) in Trieste, Italy. Since Planck's launch, the software is smoothly and countinously running at the DPC to receive and treate the daily scientific data and housekeeping data used to control the health of the instrument. Part of the system is also installed at the Mission Operations Center (MOC) in Darmstadt, Germany.

The development achieved at the ISDC with a small team of software engineers was done very efficiently thanks to the experience gained with INTEGRAL. The developed system consists of:

  • make a request and receive data from the satellite via the MOC
  • sort the data according to their type (detector, observation mode, etc.) and their measurement time
  • check the quality and flag the data based on various criteria
  • provide tools for verifying the proper course of processing and for data visualization
  • extract ancillary data describing in particular the attitude of the satellite, i.e. the sky region observed at a given time
  • archive the data in a format such that they are ready to be combined to generate maps of the sky in different spectral bands

Planck Science at the University of Geneva

The scientific interest for the Planck mission in Geneva is, firstly, the study of the CMB and its implications for theoretical models describing the origin and evolution of the universe. This research is conducted by Martin Kunz and several collaborators in the Cosmology group of the department of theoretical physics of the University of Geneva. And, also, to study the powerful jets ejected by highly variable active galaxies called blazars. Marc Türler at the ISDC is co-leader of the Planck research group on foreground blazars.