Planck spies with microwave eyes

The Planck space telescope has been surveying the sky in microwave region wavelengths. As it performs this survey, primarily to map the cosmic microwave background, its eyes inevitably also fall on familiar regions of space. These include the areas around the Orion and Perseus constellations, which reveal an interesting variety of sights.

Low frequency observations show emissions due to the interactions of electrons with magnetic fields – synchrotron, brehmstrallung and other radiation – as well as emissions due to spinning dust. Intermediate frequency observations show gas warmed by the glow of newly formed stars. High frequency observations show the thermal emissions of cold dust, such as that collapsing into a core shortly before warming up as the first seed of a new star.

In the Orion region, famous for the naked eye nebula, new stars are being formed at a relatively high rate. In Perseus, the star formation is less vigorous, but there’s still plenty to see.

The images with explanations can be seen here and here.


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