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Spitzer Space Telescope fills in the dark edges of our galaxy

This image, released last week, shows dozens of young stars spouting jets of stellar material. Image: NASA/JPL/Caltech/University of Wisconsin.

This image, released last week, shows dozens of young stars spouting jets of stellar material. Image: NASA/JPL/Caltech/University of Wisconsin.


Daniel Martins
Digital Reporter

Saturday, June 8, 2013, 2:29 PM - "Blooming stars" fill areas of the Milky Way Galaxy that are proving to be less empty than previously thought.

NASA infrared Spitzer Space Telescope has been documenting the teeming star fields between our world and the centre of the Milky Way, but the sparking shot above, released last week, is from "behind" the Earth, in the direction of the galactic rim.

"We sometimes call this flyover country," Barbara Whitney, a University of Wisconsin researcher who is one of Spitzer's many users. "We are finding all sorts of new star formation in the lesser known areas at the outer edges of the galaxy."

That picture shows dozens of newborn stars spouting jets of stellar material, characteristic of the very early stages of a star's life cycle.

The telescope's efforts are part of an initiative to completely map the galaxy's celestial topography. 

The final "map," along with a 360 degree view of the Milky Way plane, will be publicly available later this year, NASA says anyone.

For more on the Spitzer mission, click here.

There are plenty of sparking sights here on Earth. See some of the best nature and weather videos in our gallery.

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