The European Space Agency (ESA) has released some new pictures of our Galaxy. These images come from a test run of the Herschel observatory, which will focus on studying cold material in our galactic plan, and how that material affects planet formation. Apparently these pictures show unexpected signs of activity in the Milky Way. The universe is in more turmoil then astronomers previously suspected.
"The resulting images reveal an extremely rich reservoir of cold material in the Galactic Plane that is seen to be in a previously unsuspected state of turmoil. Interstellar material appears to be condensing in a continuous and interconnected maze of filaments and strings of newly-forming stars in all stages of development. The observations yield additional information about this cold material - such as how much there is, its mass, temperature and composition, and whether or not some of it is collapsing to form new stars." [ESA]
Superfluid helium cryogen was used to create these images via a SPIRE (top) and PACS (bottom) imaging
mode. these pictures focus on the Southern Cross constellation, which is 60 degrees from the Galactic Center.