This structure, known as the Gould belt, passes through the galactic plane at a 20 [degrees] angle.
Astronomers had previously noted that the distribution of the midlatitude gammaray sources, recorded by the EGRET telescope aboard NASA's Compton Gamma Ray Observatory (GRO), coincides with the Gould belt.
However, midlatitude gamma rays may arise from collisions of charged particles in the powerful winds of active, rapidly rotating stars in the Gould belt.
According to Professor Derek Ward-Thompson, of Cardiff University and a member of the Gould Belt
Key Project, for which this image was taken, "The insight into the way stars are forming that is provided by this image is absolutely fantastic, and I can't wait to see the rest of the data we're going to receive over the coming months.