This sweeping panorama is the sharpest infrared picture ever made of the Galactic core.
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The image reveals a cold and turbulent region where material is just beginning to condense into new stars. It is located in the plane of our Milky Way Galaxy, 60 degrees from the center. Blue shows warmer material, red the coolest, while green represents intermediate temperatures.
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Artist's concept of the Milky Way Galaxy.
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The center of our Milky Way Galaxy is hidden from the prying eyes of optical telescopes by clouds of obscuring dust and gas. But, in this stunning vista, the Spitzer Space Telescope's infrared cameras penetrate much of the dust, revealing the stars of the crowded galactic center region.
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(Annotated version) In a strange twist of science, astronomers using the Herschel Space Observatory have discovered that a suspected ring at the center of our galaxy is warped for reasons they cannot explain.