Herschel's view of the Galactic Plane
The plane of our Galaxy, the Milky Way, seen by ESA's Herschel space observatory.
This video shows a wealth of bright sources, wispy filaments and bubbling nebulas against the background of diffuse gas and dust, marking the spots where stars are being born in the Galaxy.
The video was compiled by stitching together several hundred hours of Herschel observations obtained as part of the Herschel infrared Galactic Plane Survey. It spans a vast portion – almost 40% – of the plane of the Milky Way, where most of the stars in the Galaxy form and reside.
Shaped as a disc, our Galaxy has a diameter of about 100 000 light-years and the Solar System is embedded in it, about half way between centre and periphery. From our vantage point, this huge disc of stars, gas and dust appears as a circular strip wound around the sky, familiar as the Milky Way in the night sky.
The view is a composite of the wavelengths of 70 microns (blue), 160 microns (green) and 350 microns (red).
Credit: ESA/Herschel/PACS, SPIRE/Hi-GAL Project
Acknowledgement: G. Li Causi, IAPS/INAF, Italy