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Planck is ESA's mission to observe the first light in the Universe. Planck was selected in 1995 as the third Medium-Sized Mission (M3) of ESA's Horizon 2000 Scientific Programme, and later became part of its Cosmic Vision Programme. It was designed to image the temperature and polarization anisotropies of the Cosmic Background Radiation Field over the whole sky, with unprecedented sensitivity and angular resolution. Planck is testing theories of the early universe and the origin of cosmic structure and providing a major source of information relevant to many cosmological and astrophysical issues. The scientific development of the mission is directed by the Planck Science Team.

Planck was formerly called COBRAS/SAMBA. After the mission was selected and approved (in late 1996), it was renamed in honor of the German scientist Max Planck (1858-1947), Nobel Prize for Physics in 1918.


Planck was launched on 14 May 2009, and the minimum requirement for success was for the spacecraft to complete two whole surveys of the sky. In the end, Planck worked perfectly for 30 months, about twice the span originally required, and completed five full-sky surveys with both instruments. Able to work at slightly higher temperatures than HFI, the Low Frequency Instrument (LFI) continued to survey the sky for a large part of 2013, providing even more data to improve the Planck final results. Read full story. Planck was turned off on 23 October 2013. The high-quality data the mission has produced will continue to be scientifically explored in the years to come.

More information on Planck may be accessed via the links to the left and right (some of the links are restricted).
Please note that these pages are largely directed to the astronomical and Planck communities.

Other Planck pages under ESA's Main Planck Portal and Sci-Tech Planck Portal are more specifically directed to the public and the press.


Latest Planck Collaboration papers

Title Authors Publication
Planck intermediate results. XLIII. The spectral energy distribution of dust in clusters of galaxies Planck Collaboration 2016 A&A 596, A104
Planck intermediate results. XLIV. The structure of the Galactic magnetic field from dust polarization maps of the southern Galactic cap Planck Collaboration 2016 A&A 596, A105
Planck intermediate results. XLVI. Reduction of large-scale systematic effects in HFI polarization maps and estimation of the reionization optical depth Planck Collaboration 2016 A&A 596, A107
Planck intermediate results. XLVII. Constraints on reionization history Planck Collaboration 2016 A&A 596, A108
Planck intermediate results. XLVIII. Disentangling Galactic dust emission and cosmic infrared background anisotropies Planck Collaboration 2016 A&A 596, A109
Planck intermediate results. XLIX. Parity-violation constraints from polarization data Planck Collaboration 2016 A&A 596, A110
Planck intermediate results. L. Evidence for spatial variation of the polarized thermal dust spectral energy distribution and implications for CMB B-mode analysis Planck Collaboration 2016 Submitted to A&A
Planck intermediate results. LI. Features in the cosmic microwave background temperature power spectrum and shifts in cosmological parameters Planck Collaboration 2016 Submitted to A&A
A report on Lessons Learned issued in Sept 2016: if you have any feedback or further questions on any of the topics discussed in this document, please contact  Planck Science Team SCI-S/2016.236/jt



Some recent awards

  • The 2016 Lancelot M. Berkeley - New York Community Trust Prize for Meritorious Work in Astronomy was awarded to Jan Tauber for "helping to lead the Planck mission to its groundbreaking success in delivering detailed maps of the cosmic microwave background and precise values of key cosmological parameters". See the announcement.

  • the 2015 AIAA Space Systems Award has been conferred to the Herschel and Planck Project Team for "outstanding scientific achievements recognized by the worldwide scientific community and for the outstanding technical performances of the two satellites". See the announcement.

  • Edison-Volta Prize: Reno Mandolesi, Jean-Loup Puget, and Jan Tauber have been awarded the 2015 Edison-Volta Prize by the European Physical Society, the Centro di Cultura Scientifica Alessandro Volta and Edison S.p.A.. Read the story.

  • Jean-Loup Puget, Principal Investigator of Planck/HFI, has been awarded the COSPAR Space Science Award for 2014. See the COSPAR and IAS announcements.

  • François Bouchet, responsible for the HFI Data Processing Centre, was awarded the Grand Prix scientifique 2014 of the Fondation Louis D. on the topic "Cosmologie et liens avec la physique au-delà du modèle standard". Read the announcement.

  • Le Prix La Recherche 2014: The french magazine La Recherche announced that this year's astrophysics prize is awarded to the Planck article on gravitational lensing by large-scale structure, for the first full sky reconstruction of the CMB lensing effect. Click to know more.

  • 2014 IPMA Awards: Thales Alenia Space received Gold Medal at the 2014 IPMA Awards for the management of the prestigious space science program Herschel-Planck. Click to know more.

  • The Principal Investigator of Planck/LFI, Dr. Nazzareno Mandolesi, has been presented the Amaldi medal by SIGRAV on 15 September 2014, more info, and that the Principal Investigator of Planck/HFI, Dr. Jean-Loup Puget, has been presented by COSPAR on 4 August with the 2014 Space Science Award more info.



Need help ? If you are a member of the Planck Collaboration, with access to restricted areas of Planck pages, and are having problems using these facilities, you can ask for help by sending an email to Also note that: (a) logging in via the Cosmos portal - via Sign In in the top right corner - solves most access problems; (b) if you have problems with your password, first try the automated password reset facility via this link.


Mission status: Planck stopped operations on 23 October 2013.

Latest News

  • We are happy to announce today (20 September 2016) that Astronomy & Astrophysics has published a Special Feature containing the 28 "Planck 2015 results" papers. A press release accompanies the event. We thank the publisher (EDP Sciences) for providing open access to all these papers on the site of A&A.

  • Constraints on reionization history and optical depth: The Planck Collaboration has published in A&A two articles describing improved HFI polarization data at large angular scales, a new estimation of the reionization optical depth, and new fits to Lambda-CMB models with various parametrizations of the reionization history. Read more here.