davecl writes "The Herschel space observatory has just released stunning five-color images of a section of our own galaxy, showing the complex twisted structures of the interstellar medium that drive star and planet formation. The images are the first produced using two of Herschel's instruments, SPIRE and PACS, simultaneously and show the power of this approach. This image is just 2x2 degrees in size, but future Herschel programs will image the entire galactic plane at this sensitivity and resolution. Full scale science operations with Herschel begin in just a few weeks. More information on the project can be found from the ESA, the mission blog (which I contribute to) and from the SPIRE instrument team. The BBC is also covering this story."