In just one minute, you can watch the Herschel space telescope painting the sky blue, green and yellow! The colors in this new video represent four years of observations from the European Space Agency telescope, which was active between 2009 and 2013.
“In total, Herschel observed almost a tenth of the entire sky for over 23,500 hours, providing new views into the previously hidden universe, pointing to unseen star birth and galaxy formation, and tracing water through the universe from molecular clouds to newborn stars and to their planet-forming discs and belts of comets,” ESA stated on a video explanation.
As ESA explains, Herschel had two cameras and imaging spectrometers on board, called PACS (Photoconductor Array Camera and Spectrometer, in blue) and SPIRE (Spectral and Photometric Imaging Receiver, in green). When they worked together, their observations are shown in yellow.
Herschel was officially shut down on June 17 — check out the video of those commands here — but the scientific information the telescope produced is still being plumbed by astronomers.