This image from NASA's Herschel space observatory shows a filament called G49, which contains 80,000 suns' worth of mass. Long and flimsy threads emerge from a twisted mix of material, taking on complex shapes.
A small galaxy, called Sextans A, is shown here in a multi-wavelength mosaic captured by the ESA's Herschel mission. In this image, the purple shows gas; blue shows young stars and the orange and yellow dots are newly formed stars heating up dust.
This artist's concept illustrates the frenzied activity at the core of our Milky Way galaxy. The galactic center hosts a supermassive black hole in the region known as Sagittarius A*, or Sgr A*, with a mass of about four million times that of our sun.
This map shows the distribution of water in the stratosphere of Jupiter as measured with the Herschel space observatory. White and cyan indicate highest concentration of water, and blue indicates lesser amounts.
Astronomers have discovered some of the youngest stars ever seen thanks to the Herschel space observatory; dense envelopes of gas and dust surround the fledging stars known as protostars, make their detection difficult until now.
Artist's impression of Herschel is set against an image captured by the observatory, showing baby stars forming in the Rosette nebula. The bright spots are dusty cocoons containing massive forming stars, each one up to ten times the mass of our own sun.
This artist's illustration shows a planetary disk (left) that weighs the equivalent of 50 Jupiter-mass planets. It demonstrates a first-of-its-kind feat from astronomers using the Herschel space observatory.
In this diagram, the Vega system, which was already known to have a cooler outer belt of comets (orange), is compared to our solar system with its asteroid and Kuiper belts. The ring of warm, rocky debris was detected using NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope,
This artist's concept illustrates an asteroid belt around the bright star Vega. Evidence for this warm ring of debris was found using NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope, and the European Space Agency's Herschel Space Observatory.