This image shows a filament called G49, which contains 80,000 suns' worth of mass. This huge but slender structure of gas and dust extends about 280 light-years in length, while its diameter is only about 5 light-years across.
In this image, longer-wavelength light has been assigned visible colors. Light with wavelengths of 70 microns is blue; 160-micron light is green; and 350-micron light is red. Cooler gas and dust are seen in red and yellow, with temperatures as low as minus 421 degrees Fahrenheit [minus 252 degrees Celsius].
In the densest and coolest clumps, the seeds of new generations of stars are taking shape. A brighter clump of matter is visible at the left tip of the wispy thread.
This filament is about 18,000 light-years away. The image is oriented with northeast toward the left of the image and southwest toward the right.