A range of 6,000-12,000 light-years

The so-called interstellar medium, simply put, is the material found in between stars. This image shows the complexity of the interstellar medium in the direction away from the center of our Galaxy. Dust, which emits infrared radiation, has been coloured blue while radio-emitting regions are coloured rose. Supernova remnants appear as red and yellowish spherical clouds, such as HB3 at the right of the image. To the left of HB3 is a vast complex, about 625 light-years across, containing star-forming regions W3, W4, and W5. The upwards loop of W4 partially traces a superbubble blown by winds from a cluster of young stars. On the left of the image, regions of pink plus blue are dusty nebulae which are also forming stars.

Credit: Jayanne English (University of Manitoba), Tom Landecker (NRC of Canada), Dominion Radio Astrophysical Observatory, and Infrared Astronomical Satellite.