Amazing New Photos From NASA

Cosmic portraits of awe and wonderment to make you feel either existentially insignificant or sublimely at one with the universe. Or you'll just go, "Whoa."

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This composite image of the Milky Way galaxy is a mosaic of infrared images from NASA's Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer. The constellations Cassiopeia and Cepheus are both visible in this 1,000-square degree image, as are dozens of dense clouds, called nebulae, where new stars are forming.



The Large Magellanic Cloud galaxy in infrared light as seen by the Herschel Space Observatory and NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope. This nearby dwarf galaxy looks like a fiery, circular explosion. Rather than fire, however, those ribbons are actually giant ripples of dust spanning tens or hundreds of light-years. Significant fields of star formation are noticeable in the center, just left of center and at right. The brightest center-left region is called 30 Doradus, or the Tarantula Nebula, for its appearance in visible light.



Cygnus X, one of the most active regions of star birth in the Milky Way galaxy, is pictured in this NASA handout image obtained by Reuters January 10, 2012. The composite infrared image taken by NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope shows the cloud of dust and gas 4,500 light years away from earth in the constellation Cygnus. Most stars are thought to form in huge star-forming regions like Cygnus X.