*See picture and video below*
The European Space Agency's Planck telescope has finished the first of four scans of the entire sky. When complete, the mission will give us a better understanding about galactic structures and the 'big bang' that created them.
The image from Planck's first scan (see below) offers a stunning view of the Milky Way and its surrounding 'tendrils of cold dust.'
NASA is also participating in the mission, which launched from Kourou, French Guiana in May 2009 and will conclude sometime in 2012.
The goal of Planck is to map what NASA calls 'cosmic microwave background -- relic radiation left over from the Big Bang that created our universe about 13.7 billion years ago.'
'Planck's ability to measure the temperature of the coldest dust particles will provide a better understanding of the physical processes at play in the spaces between stars, and in regions of star formation,' NASA reports.
The image below, Planck's first scan, shows 'the structure and form of dust clouds within about 500 light-years of the sun. The bright band in this far-infrared image is the Milky Way's spiral disk,' Wired explains.
See the picture, then watch a video demonstrates how Planck works.