A new, large mosaic from NASA’s Wide-Field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) showcases a vast stretch of cosmic clouds bubbling with new star birth. The constellations Cassiopeia and Cepheus are featured in this 1,000-square degree expanse. These constellations, named after an ancient Queen and King of Ethiopia in Greek mythology, are visible in the northern sky every night of the year as seen from most of the United States. Within this image are dozens of dense clouds, called nebulae. Many of the nebulae seen here are places where new stars are forming, creating bubble like structures that can be dozens to hundreds of light-years in size. The colors used in this image represent specific wavelengths of infrared light.
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Blue and cyan (blue-green) represent light emitted at wavelengths of 3.4 and 4.6 microns, which is predominantly from stars. Green and red represent light from 12 and 22 microns, respectively, which is mostly emitted by dust. This image is a mosaic of thousands of individual frames from WISE, combined first into 442 interlocking tiles before re-projecting and stitching them into the final picture. This was done for each of the four WISE wavelengths, totaling nearly 30 billion pixels in the interlocking tiles.