Letters of Intent for 2015

LoI 2015-223
Focus Meeting: The Legacy of Planck

Date: 5 August 2015 to 7 August 2015
Location: Honolulu, Hawaii, United States
Contact: Jan Tauber (jtauber@rssd.esa.int)
Coordinating division: Division J Galaxies and Cosmology
Co-Chairs of SOC: J. Tauber (European Space Agency)
N. Mandolesi (IASF - INAF)
J. L. Puget (Institut d'Astrophysique Spatiale)
Chair of LOC: ()



Cosmic Microwave Background
Galactic Insterstellar Medium
Extragalactic sources and backgrounds



ESA's Planck satellite (http://www.esa.int/Planck) was launched in May 2009 and has surveyed the whole sky uninterruptedly between August 2009 and October 2013, in a range of frequencies spanning the radio to the submm. Planck was designed to image the anisotropies of the Cosmic Microwave Background (CMB) over the whole sky, with unprecedented sensitivity and angular resolution. Planck provides a major source of information relevant to several cosmological issues, such as testing theories of the early universe and the origin of cosmic structure. The ability to measure to high accuracy the angular power spectrum of the CMB fluctuations allows the determination of fundamental cosmological parameters with an uncertainty of order one percent or better in some cases. In addition to the main cosmological goals of the mission, the Planck sky surveys can be used to study in detail the very sources of emission which ``contaminate" the signal due to the CMB, and results in a wealth of information on the properties of extragalactic sources, and on the dust and gas in our own galaxy.

In March of 2013 Planck and ESA released to the community all-sky maps in nine frequency bands between 30 and 857 GHz, based on its first 15.5 months of observations. At the same time the Planck Collaboration published its first major findings in CMB cosmology and astrophysics, confirming it as the current flagship experiment in its field. A second major release is currently planned to take place in the middle of 2014; the data to be released will cover all the data acquired by Planck, and will include also polarised data products. The latter will certainly constitute an entirely new asset to the community, to be used both for cosmology and astrophysics. A third release is tentatively planned in 2015, and will include improved polarisation products.

The timing of the IAU's GA Assembly in August of 2015 is thus well synchronised to hold a major meeting dedicated to present the Legacy of the Planck mission, and discuss its implications on astronomy and cosmology. Due to the wide nature of the topics where Planck is making critical contributions, we believe that this meeting is well suited to be a 3-day long interdisciplinary "Focus Meeting", co-coordinated by Divisions J and H.

Tentatively, we would dedicate one day to CMB and cosmology, one day to galactic and extragalactic astrophysics, and one day to topics of confluence, including a discussion of the next experimental steps to be undertaken.