PIA17243: Mapping Invisible Pools of Gas in Our Galaxy (Illustration)
Mission: Herschel Space Observatory
Product Size: 4000 x 2250 pixels (width x height)
Produced By: European Space Agency (ESA)
Full-Res TIFF: PIA17243.tif (27.01 MB)
Full-Res JPEG: PIA17243.jpg (379.7 kB)

Click on the image above to download a moderately sized image in JPEG format (possibly reduced in size from original)

Original Caption Released with Image:

Click here for larger version of PIA17243
Figure 1
Click on the image for larger version

This illustration shows a newfound reservoir of stellar fuel discovered by the Herschel space observatory (red). Stars are formed out of pools of gaseous hydrogen molecules. To locate these pools, astronomers have historically looked for carbon monoxide (CO), which is co-located with the hydrogen gas (orange). But this tracer molecule does not lead astronomers to all of the star-making material in our galaxy. By using Herschel to map ionized carbon (C+), scientists were able to find additional reservoirs of the hydrogen gas.

Herschel is a European Space Agency 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, Pasadena, Calif. 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 is online at http://www.herschel.caltech.edu, http://www.nasa.gov/herschel and http://www.esa.int/SPECIALS/Herschel.

Image Credit:
NASA/JPL-Caltech/JHU

Image Addition Date:
2013-06-11