This image from the Herschel Observatory reveals some of the coldest and darkest material in our galaxy. The choppy clouds of gas and dust are just starting to condense into new stars.
Blue shows the warmest dust pictured, and red the coolest. Infrared light with a wavelength of 70 microns is depicted in blue, and 160-micron light is in red. Much of this region of the galaxy would be hidden in visible light views.
The area pictured is in the plane of our Milky Way galaxy, 60 degrees from the center. It spans a region 2.1 by 2.1 degrees.
This image was taken by Herschel's spectral and photometric imaging receiver. Herschel is a European Space Agency mission with important participation from NASA.
Herschel is a European Space Agency cornerstone mission, with science instruments provided by consortia of European institutes and with important participation by NASA. NASA's Herschel Project Office is based at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory. JPL contributed mission-enabling technology for two of Herschel's three science instruments. The NASA Herschel Science Center, part of the Infrared Processing and Analysis Center at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, supports the United States astronomical community. Caltech manages JPL for NASA. More information about NASA's role in the mission is at http://www.herschel.caltech.edu/.