Planck and Herschel might sound like a particularly nerdy Vaudeville act, but they're actually two new space telescopes that scientists are hoping to use to discover the origins of the universe as we know it.

The two telescopes are due to go into space onboard the Arianne V rocket launch, from French Guyana, on May 14th. Planck, a telescope whose internal instrumentation will be kept only three degrees above absolute zero, will focus on tracking the "fossilized" radiation remaining from the Big Bang, while Herschel will look at infrared radiation in areas where stars and galaxies are still forming, something that excites Professor Matt Griffin of Cardiff University:

The results could reveal how stars like the Sun are forming in our own galaxy today, how the galaxies grew and evolved over cosmic time, and how planetary systems can develop from the dust and gas around young stars.

He'll have to wait for the results, however; although the telescopes launch in little over a week, the first data from them isn't expected for approximately six months.

Telescopes that could see the future []