|COBE Engineering Information
from the Cryogenics & Fluids Branch
NASA Goddard Space Flight Center.
Section of the skymap produced from measurements by the COBE DIRBE band #10 bolometers. The large red and yellow arc in the map is our home galaxy, the Milky Way, seen edge-on. It appears curved because the ecliptic coordinate system was used in this map; i.e. the plane of the solar system is projected as a straight horizontal line along the center of the map. In order to study the cosmic background radiation, COBE scientists had to correct for the presence of sources of radiation such as our galaxy.
To see other DIRBE pictures, visit the DIRBE image section of the COBE science team website. In the images you'll see there, the galaxy appears straight (and the solar system curved) because they use galactic coordinates, in which the plane of the galaxy is projected as a straight horizontal line along the center of the skymap.