Download Video

Video Information

Subscribe to Series

03.20.14

Panning Through the Milky Way

This video shows a continually looping view of the Spitzer Space Telescope's new infrared view of our Milky Way Galaxy. The 360-degree mosaic comes primarily from the GLIMPSE360 project, which stands for Galactic Legacy Mid-Plane Survey Extraordinaire. It consists of more than 2 million snapshots taken in infrared light over ten years, beginning in 2003 when Spitzer launched. 

The radar view to the bottom right of the screen shows the direction currently being displayed in the main image, centered on our position in the suburbs of the Milky Way. 

This infrared image reveals much more of the galaxy than can be seen in visible-light views. Whereas visible light is blocked by dust, infrared light from stars and other objects can travel through dust to reach Spitzer's detectors. For instance, when looking up at our night skies, we see stars that are an average of 1,000 light-years away; the rest are hidden. In Spitzer's mosaic, light from stars throughout the galaxy -- which stretches 100,000 light-years across -- shines through. This picture covers only about three percent of the sky, but includes more than half of the galaxy's stars and the majority of its star formation activity.

The red color shows dusty areas of star formation. Throughout the galaxy, tendrils, bubbles and sculpted dust structures are apparent. These are the result of massive stars blasting out winds and radiation. Stellar clusters deeply embedded in gas and dust, green jets and other features related to the formation of young stars can also be seen for the first time. Looking towards the galactic center, the blue haze is made up of starlight -- the region is too far away for us to pick out individual stars, but they contribute to the glow. Dark filaments that show up in stark contrast to the bright background are areas of thick, cold dust that not even infrared light can penetrate. 

The GLIMPSE360 map will guide astronomers for generations, helping them to further chart the unexplored territories of our own Milky Way.

Browse Videos in Science Animations

2040100 per page

Details or Icons

Page-nav-left Page 2 of 2 Page-nav-right-disabled

Go to page

ssc2005-10v1

04.20.05

Band of Rubble

ssc2005-10v2

04.20.05

Sunset on an Alien World

ssc2005-09v2

03.22.05

Distant Planet Flaunts its Light

ssc2005-09v3

03.22.05

How to Measure a Planetary Eclipse

ssc2005-09v1

03.22.05

A Planet in a Different Light

ssc2005-08v1

03.01.05

Invisible Galaxies Come to Life

ssc2005-07v1

02.11.05

Spitzer's Delicate Ring Flower

ssc2005-06v1

02.07.05

Birth of an Unusual Planetary System

ssc2005-02v1

01.12.05

Trifid's Shifting Sides

ssc2004-22v1

12.09.04

A Distant Solar System

ssc2004-20v1

11.09.04

Icy Dawn of a Newborn Star

ssc2004-17v2

10.18.04

Swirling Rings of Dust

ssc2004-17v1

10.18.04

When Worlds Collide

ssc2004-19v1

10.07.04

Visible-Infrared Whirlpool

ssc2004-15v3

10.06.04

Supernova Explosion

ssc2004-15v2

10.06.04

Kepler's Supernova Remnant - Zoom-In

ssc2004-13v1

08.09.04

Spitzer Discovers Hidden Ring

ssc2004-08v2

05.27.04

Icy Organics in Planet-Forming Disks

ssc2004-08v3

05.27.04

Forming a Planetary Gap

ssc2004-06v1

04.14.04

Star Formation in the DR21 Region

ssc2004-05v1

03.15.04

Orbit of Sedna

ssc2004-04v1

03.08.04

Star Formation in Henize 206

ssc2004-04v2

03.08.04

Triggered Star Formation

ssc2004-01v1

01.13.04

The Tarantula Nebula

ssc2003-06v3

12.18.03

Messier 81

ssc2003-06v4

12.18.03

Herbig-Haro 46/47

ssc2003-06v2

12.18.03

Dark Globule in IC 1396

ssc2003-06v5

03.18.03

Model Dust Ring