Nearly the entire sky, as seen in infrared wavelengths and projected at 0.5 degree resolution, is shown in this image, assembled from six months of data from the Infrared Astronomical Satellite (IRAS). The bright horizontal band is the plane of the Milky Way, with the center of the Galaxy located at the center of the image. The colors represent infrared emission detected in three of the telescope's four wavelength band (blue is 12 microns, green is 60 microns, and red is 100 microns). Hotter material radiates at the shorter infrared wavelengths. The hazy, horizontal "S-shaped" feature that crosses the image is the faint heat emitted by dust in the plane of our Solar System. Discrete celestial objects visible in the photo are regions of star formation in the constellation Ophiucus (above the Galactic Center) and Orion (the two brightest spots below the Galactic plane at the far right). The Large Magellanic Cloud, a companion galaxy to the Milky Way, is the relatively isolated spot located below the plane, right of center. Black stripes are regions of the sky not scanned by IRAS.
The above is taken directly from the WWW page on the Heritage of the SIRTF Mission from the Infrared Processing & Analysis Center.
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© 1995 Karen M. Strom