Dr. Peter Ade discusses Planck mission

The University of Lethbridge and the Herschel satellite are intimately connected thanks to the work of physics professor Dr. David Naylor and the SPIRE instrument. However, the Herschel launch included a great many scientific instruments, another of which was the Planck mission.

On Thursday, 3 to 4 p.m. in D620, Dr. Peter Ade, from Cardiff University, Wales will speak about his role with the Planck mission in a free talk open to everyone.

Planck was selected as the third Medium-Sized Mission (M3) of ESA's Horizon 2000 Scientific Programme, and is today part of its Cosmic Vision Programme. It is designed to image the anisotropies of the Cosmic Background Radiation Field over the whole sky, with unprecedented sensitivity and angular resolution. Planck will provide a major source of information relevant to several cosmological and astrophysical issues, such as testing theories of the early universe and the origin of cosmic structure. 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 May 14, 2009 together with the Herschel satellite. After launch, Planck and Herschel separated and are now proceeding to different orbits around the second Lagrangian point of the Earth-Sun System.

Professor Ade has enjoyed over 30 years experience in instrumental design and manufacture while pursuing his observational astrophysics and atmospheric science interests. His involvement in atmospheric observations started in 1971 when he made some of the first airborne measurements of the submillimetre spectral emission from the atmosphere using helium cooled detector with a Fourier Transform spectrometer.

Cardiff is accepted as the world leader in this technology. Professor Ade has been involved with the development and deployment of many astronomical instruments (Scuba, ISOLWS, Cassini-CIRS, Mars-PMIRR, Boomerang, Maxima, Acbar, Maxipol, Bolocam). Current activities include provision of a second-generation camera for the JCMT (SCUBA-2), Co-Investigator on the Herschel-SPIRE instrument (of which Naylor and the University of Lethbridge played a lead role), the MIPS instrument for SIRTF, the Clover B-mode experiment and UK instrument scientist for the Planck Surveyor High Frequency Instrument (HFI). The latter mission is designed to measure all the fundamental cosmological parameters to unprecedented sensitivities.