Appearing like a winged creature poised on a pedestal, this object is actually a billowing tower of cold gas and dust rising from a stellar nursery called the Eagle Nebula. The soaring tower is 9.5 light-years high, about twice the distance from our Sun to the next nearest star

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Switch to the invisible wavelengths of the far-infrared and the Milky Way’s river of stars disappears to reveal tendrils of cold dust. Shown here, in this image from Japan’s Akari space observatory, are the central regions of the constellation Cygnus, and it can be seen that the Milky Way displays a rich stock of dust. (read more here)

The mystical-looking image is part of Akari’s recently released all-sky survey. The mission observed more than 99% of the entire sky over a period of 16 months. Akari was a Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) project with European Space Agency’s participation.

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