An anonymous reader writes "New images from the Planck Space Observatory reveal the gas and dust between the stars and isolate the physical processes at work in our galaxy. The new images are an eye-catching by-product of a spacecraft designed to look back at the earliest light in the universe. ... When observed at much longer wavelengths, where the cosmic microwave background can be seen, the picture is very different, as clearly demonstrated in new images from ESA's Planck mission. The dust is no longer a dark shroud, but shines out in its own right, and new aspects of our galaxy are revealed."