EUROPEAN SPACE AGENCY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY EUROPEAN SPACE AGENCY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
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False-colour gamma-ray map of the band of the Milky Way, based on data recorded by the Cos-B gamma ray satellite. The colours represent the intensity of the gamma ray emission from blue (faintest) through purple and red to yellow (brightest). Most of the brightest emission comes from around two dozen small sources, most of which are probably neutron stars. The Cos-B telescope had a resolution of only 2 degrees, so small sources are blurred out to this apparent size. A diffuse gamma ray "glow" is also seen coming from Galactic interstellar gas which has been excited by collisions with high-energy cosmic rays.
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