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8 trail-blazing images from NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory

By: Katherine Butler on Jan. 4, 2012, 8:47 a.m.
The dirt on Andromeda

Photo: NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCLA

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The dirt on Andromeda

This image from NASA's Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) shows the spiraling arms of the Andromeda galaxy as it whirls cosmic dust away from its center. NASA calls Andromeda our “great galactic neighbor.” As JPL writes of this image, “the hot dust, which is being heated by newborn stars, traces the spidery arms all the way to the center of the galaxy. Telltale signs of young stars can also be seen in the centers of Andromeda's smaller companion galaxies, M32 and M110.” WISE is an infrared mission designed to survey the entire sky for objects in space. It looks for comets and asteroids near Earth, as well as dwarf stars and galaxies in deeper space. To see more images from WISE, click here.