ESA’s Herschel infrared observatory has an unprecedented view on the cold Universe, bridging the gap between what can be observed from the ground and earlier infrared space missions, and bringing to light previously unseen star-forming regions, molecular clouds and galaxies enshrouded in dust.
This artist’s impression of ESA’s Herschel space observatory is set against a background image showing baby stars forming in the Rosette Nebula. The bright spots are dusty cocoons containing massive protostars, each one up to ten times the mass of our own Sun.
The Rosette Nebula resides some 5000 light-years from Earth and is associated with a larger cloud that contains enough dust and gas to make the equivalent of 10 000 Sun-like stars.
The image is a three-colour composite made by Herschel’s Photoconductor Array Camera and Spectrometer (PACS) and the Spectral and Photometric Imaging Receiver (SPIRE) at wavelengths of 70 microns (blue), 160 microns (green) and 250 microns (red).