Credit: Jian-Rong Gao
Stars and planets are born from clouds of molecules that coagulate and eventually fall apart again in the space between the stars in a galaxy. Astronomers still do not know exactly how this works.
That is why NASA's stratospheric balloon STO2 will be launched from Antarctica to the edge of space to measure cosmic far infrared radiation. At an altitude of 40 kilometers above Antarctica, the air is crystal clear. There is scarcely any water vapor, which often blocks this type of radiation at other locations in the atmosphere.