Sub-millimeter wavelengths are important to astronomers as they are generated by gas and dust only a few tens of degrees above absolute zero. Seeing our galaxy in these wavelengths can help us better understand the distribution of interstellar gas clouds that ultimately provide fuel for baby stars.
ANALYSIS: Serenity in the Milky Way
"ATLASGAL provides exciting insights into where the next generation of high-mass stars and clusters form," said Timea Csengeri from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy (MPIfR), Bonn, Germany, in an ESO news release. "By combining these with observations from Planck, we can now obtain a link to the large-scale structures of giant molecular clouds."
In a selection of release images, ATLASGAL is compared with data from the European Planck space observatory, surveys in visible light and views from NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope, which sees the universe in infrared.