Science Art: The Microwave Sky, Planck Telescope, 2010

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This image – a composite view of, well, everything – was made by the European Space Agency’s Planck Telescope, an orbiting observatory assigned to look into the origins of the universe.

This is a photograph of cosmic microwave background radiation. The bright stuff in the middle, that’s the center of the Milky Way. What we see here as purple-and-red afterglow is actually what remains of the Big Bang – the dying microwave embers that first blazed when the newborn universe began cooling a little less than 14 billion years ago.

There are animated versions and a lot more information about Planck and the early universe at the ESA’s official press release.