Planck space observatory, with the Earth in the background, artwork. This unmanned spacecraft was launched from Earth on 14 May 2009. It then began travelling to the second Lagrangian point (L2), situated about 1.5 million kilometres from Earth in the direction opposite to the Sun. The aim of the mission is to study the Cosmic Microwave Background, the radiation left over from the Big Bang. Planck took around 6 months to arrive, and then spent 15 months surveying the sky. Following excellent initial results, the mission was extended, with observations continuing to the end of 2011. The final results are expected at the end of 2012.
Science Photo Library was founded in 1981 by Michael Marten, one of the authors of "Worlds Within Worlds", a book exploring different ways to observe the universe - from electron micrographs, to images of earthrise taken from the Apollo spacecraft. When Marten started receiving requests for the beautiful images in the book, he had an idea of setting up Science Photo Library.
Since then, Science Photo Library has continued to work alongside world acclaimed photographers and the leading science and medical experts to provide a central source of the best science and specialist imagery available. Although the collection started with scientific images, it has grown to encompass all aspects of science and their impact on everyday life.
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