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Gould's Belt Survey

Gould’s Belt is a long chain of clouds in the Milky Way comprised of stellar nurseries and hot young stars. Stretching across a substantial part of the night sky, Gould’s Belt includes the Orion Nebula — the middle object in Orion’s “sword” — and a number of other star-forming regions. These regions are opaque in visible light, so the Spitzer Gould’s Belt Survey project used NASA’s Spitzer Infrared Space Telescope, the European Space Agency’s Herschel Space Observatory, and the James Clerk Maxwell Telescope in Hawaii to map the region in infrared and submillimeter light. The survey was led by scientists at the Center for Astrophysics | Harvard & Smithsonian, in collaboration with a number of other institutions around the world. Since the completion of observations in 2006, the data has continued to supply astronomers with insights into the formation of new stars in the Milky Way.