Astronomy Picture of the Day

Discover the cosmos! Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe is featured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer.

2005 December 16
See Explanation.  Clicking on the picture will download
 the highest resolution version available.

GLIMPSE the Milky Way
Credit: E. Mercer Boston Univ.), et al., SSC, JPL-Caltech, NASA, and the GLIMPSE Team

Explanation: Scroll right and gaze through the dusty plane of our Milky Way Galaxy in infrared light. The cosmic panorama is courtesy of the Galactic Legacy Infrared Mid-Plane Survey Extraordinaire (GLIMPSE) project and the Spitzer Space Telescope. The galactic plane itself runs through the middle of the false-color view that spans nine degrees (about 18 full moons) across the southern constellation Norma. Spitzer's infrared cameras see through much of the galaxy's obscuring dust revealing many new star clusters as well as star forming regions (bright white splotches) and hot interstellar hydrogen gas (greenish wisps). The pervasive red clouds are emission from dust and organic molecules, pocked with holes and bubbles blown by energetic outflows from massive stars. Intensely dark patches are regions of dust too dense for even Spitzer's infrared vision to penetrate.

Tomorrow's picture: light-weekend

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