'Hidden' Milky Way caught on camera
New images of our galaxy today showed a small part of the milky way in a new light.
A British scientist involved in obtaining the pictures said they showed the galaxy in "a very turbulent process", constantly forging new generations of stars.
The images were produced by the Herschel Space Observatory using, for the first time, the UK-led Spire camera in tandem with the satellite's other camera, Pacs.
Herschel, launched in May, was designed to view the universe at far infrared wavelengths and carries the largest telescope ever flown into space.
Together, the cameras not only reveal new material in the galaxy but provide astronomers with information about how much material there is, its mass, temperature and composition, and whether or not some of it is collapsing to form new stars.
Professor Matt Griffin, of Cardiff University, Spire's principal investigator, said: "We had high hopes for this kind of observation with Herschel, using the combined power of the two cameras to see the galaxy as never before.
"It's great to see that the observations work so well from a technical point of view, and that the scientific results are so spectacular.
"It appears that star formation in the galaxy is a very turbulent process."
The two instruments have imaged an area around 16 times as big as the size of the moon as seen from earth.
Professor Derek Ward-Thompson, also of Cardiff University, said: "The wealth of detail that is visible in these images is quite simply stunning.
"We are getting a view of the interstellar medium such as we have never seen before.
"This will help us to unravel the mysteries of star formation in a way that has never been previously possible. Herschel is certainly living up to all of our expectations."
Large areas of the milky way will be systematically surveyed by Herschel in this manner, helping astronomers to unravel the mysteries of star formation.
Dr Pete Hargrave, who led the team that helped build Spire, said: "I am staggered by the beauty of these images.
"We can see, in exquisite detail, the material from which stars are born.
"The fact that Spire and Pacs are working so well together is testament to the expertise and years of hard work put in by the instrument teams. We're all pretty chuffed!"
- 1 Frank Lampard's face drops when Holly Willoughby introduces him as a 'Man City legend'
- 2 Company breaks open Apple Watch to discover what it says is 'planned obsolescence'
- 3 The confessions of men who ordered mail-order brides
- 4 General Election 2015: Stephen Hawking says he will vote Labour
- 5 Yazidi sex slaves undergoing surgery to 'restore virginity' after being raped by Isis militants
General Election 2015: Tories sack candidate who said she would never support 'the Jew' Ed Miliband
The four utterly contradictory polls that tell the story of this election and why it is pointless trying to predict the outcome
9/11: Iranian General accuses US of organising September 11 terror attacks
General Election 2015: Prospect of Labour-SNP coalition makes one in four voters less likely to support Ed Miliband, says survey
General Election 2015: Stephen Hawking says he will vote Labour
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
The sickening truth about food banks that the Tories don't want you to know
Aaron and Melissa Klein: Oregon anti-gay bakers ordered to pay $135,000 after refusing to make cake for same-sex wedding
Andrew Lloyd Webber: Phantom of the Opera writer mocked after issuing a warning about Ed Miliband and Nicola Sturgeon
General election 2015: Labour will toughen hate crimes legislation surrounding Islamophobia
EU exit would hit UK economy much harder than neighbouring countries, study finds
£5120 per annum: Recruitment Genius: You will be working for one of the countr...
£20000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An opportunity has arisen for a...
£9000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: You will be working for one of the countr...
£17000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An opportunity has arisen for a...