No. 31: Jan-Feb 1984
As data from the IRAS (Infrared Astronomy Satellite) pile up (at 700 million bits per day), astronomers are seeing a new universe -- one consisting of cold gas, dust, and debris that emit little or no visible light. Here are just four of the new enigmas revealed:
(1) Infrared "cirrus clouds." A network of faint wisps of cold matter that cover the whole sky. (2) Galactic matter of an unknown nature. This material has been observed only on one of the 100-micrometer IRAS scans. (3) A ring of solid particles around the star Vega. (4) "Blank fields." IRAS scans have found infrared sources where no visible object exist.
(Waldrop, M. Mitchell, and Kerr, Richard A.; "IRAS Science Briefing," Science, 222:916, 1983.)