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Milky Way

Galactic Center

As each slider bar is manipulated, the view transitions from far infrared light to mid infrared light to near infrared light. In far infrared light: These two galaxies have been merging for 800 million years. In mid infrared light: The addition of infrared highlights dusty regions where stars are forming. In near infrared light: The addition of infrared highlights dusty regions where stars are forming. As each slider bar is manipulated, the view transitions from far infrared light to mid infrared light to near infrared light. In far infrared light: These two galaxies have been merging for 800 million years. In mid infrared light: The addition of infrared highlights dusty regions where stars are forming. In near infrared light: The addition of infrared highlights dusty regions where stars are forming. As each slider bar is manipulated, the view transitions from far infrared light to mid infrared light to near infrared light. In far infrared light: These two galaxies have been merging for 800 million years. In mid infrared light: The addition of infrared highlights dusty regions where stars are forming. In near infrared light: The addition of infrared highlights dusty regions where stars are forming.
Far Infrared: Default View

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Near Infrared:
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Galactic Center

The densely packed starfields at our galaxy's center are hidden behind dust clouds and only become visible in infrared light. In the near-infrared they begin to appear, but are reddened for much the same reason that sunlight turns red when filtered through a smoky cloud. The dense dust clouds begin to stand out at longer infrared wavelengths, taking on changing rainbows of color depending on which parts of the spectrum contribute to the image. The very coldest, densest dust will only start to glow at the very longest wavelengths of light, rendered in red in the far-infrared image in this sequence.
Far Infrared: These two galaxies have been merging for 800 million years.
Mid Infrared: The addition of infrared highlights dusty regions where stars are forming.
Near Infrared: The addition of infrared highlights dusty regions where stars are forming.
CREDITS: Far-infrared: ESA/NASA/JPL-Caltech. Mid-infrared: NASA/JPL-Caltech. Near-infrared: NASA/JPL-Caltech/S. Stolovy (Spitzer Science Center).