NASA / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY NASA / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Whole sky. Three coloured infrared images of the whole sky taken by the Cosmic Background Explorer (COBE) satellite. The top image shows the sky's full brightness; the blue "S" shape is dust in our solar system. The middle image shows our galaxy, the Milky Way (horizontal bright band), without our solar system's foreground glow. Red wisps near the Milky Way are dust clouds. The bottom image shows the evenly-distributed background infrared light of the universe. This is ancient starlight which has been red-shifted due to the stars' relative motion to us, & also because it has been absorbed & re-emitted by interstellar dust. The line across the centre is an image artifact.
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