Akari, which means "light" in Japanese, reached orbit in February 2006 and has been surveying the universe in six infrared "colors" (wavelength bands) for the past year. Its business end is a telescope with a 26-inch (65-cm) aperture and a nest of detectors, all of which are bottled up inside a giant Thermos and chilled by liquid helium to within 11° F (6 K) of absolute zero. The oddsmakers at JAXA think the liquid helium should last until mid-September, though some observations will continue even after the tank runs dry.
This past week JAXA and ESA scientists unveiled what they've got so far: a map covering 90% of the sky. It's the first new survey of the mid-infrared sky (recorded at 9 microns) in more than 20 years. And it's brimming with luscious detail. You can click on the image here to get a little bit better view, but to explore the map in all its richness, check out the bigger versions and detailed descriptions on ESA's website.