The images reveal dust in clouds where star formation is active. The nucleus and spiral arms of these galaxies show up clearly. Significantly, the frames are also filled with many other galaxies, all so distant that they show up only as point sources. There are also some extended structures visible. These are possibly due to clouds of dust in our own galaxy.
Herschel’s primary mirror is 3.5 m in diameter, nearly four times larger than any previous infrared space telescope. These images prove that Herschel enables a giant leap forward in our ability to study celestial objects at far infrared wavelengths. NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope primarily observes infrared wavelengths shorter than Herschel does, so the two telescopes complement each other.