About the Image
- February 5, 2015
Molecules in the Milky Way
A new portrait of our Milky Way galaxy shows the glow from gas molecules, primarily carbon monoxide (CO). This image comes from the European Space Agency's Planck mission, in which NASA plays an important role. It is constructed from observations made at microwave and millimeter wavelengths of light, which are longer than what we see with our eyes.
The gas molecules in our galaxy are concentrated tightly along the mid-plane of the Milky Way. It is found in the densest clumps of gas and dust which fuel the formation of new stars.