Images of the reflection nebula IC4954, taken by AKARI’s near-mid-infrared camera (IRC) (left) and IRAS, the only previous infrared sky surveyor (right).
This image comparison shows the enormous improvement in resolution and sensitivity brought by AKARI, which is already able to provide us with much more precise information about this star forming region than previous observations.
Launched in 1983, the IRAS Infra-Red Astronomical Satellite was the first mission to make a complete infrared survey of the entire sky. The mission resulted from the joint venture between the USA, United Kingdom, and the Netherlands. IRAS produced infrared maps of the Universe which have been used until the present day.