Today's Friday beautiful science comes from the AKARI satellite, launched by the Japanese Space Agency. From their website:
The infrared astronomy satellite AKARI started the regular observations in May 2006. In the last one year, AKARI has carried out the All-Sky Survey observations to map the entire sky, as well as thousands of pointed observations of selected targets. Here we show the beautiful images constructed from the AKARI All-Sky Survey data; The entire sky in the mid-infrared light, the far-infrared image of the constellation Orion and the Milky Way, and the far-infrared image of the Cygnus-X region.This photo is a composite of many thousands of images. The line running through the middle of the photo is the Milky Way.
Sadly, the satellite is nearly done its mission. It was designed to last for 550 days, and has nearly run out of liquid helium (which helps keep its sensors cool).
I'm pretty excited about this photo, and have already had a print made which I'll frame this weekend and hang in my living room. I hope you like it as much as I do.