The Central Region Of The Milky Way
Photograph - Photograph
In this image, observations using infrared light and X-ray light see through the obscuring dust and reveal the intense activity near the galactic core of the Milky Way. The swirling core of our galaxy harbors hundreds of thousands of stars that cannot be seen in visible light. These stars heat the nearby gas and dust. These dusty clouds glow in infrared light and reveal their often dramatic shapes. Some of these clouds harbor stellar nurseries that are forming new generations of stars. The radiation and winds from stars create glowing dust clouds that exhibit complex structures from compact, spherical globules to long, stringy filaments. The diffuse X-ray light is emitted by gas heated to millions of degrees by stellar explosions and by outflows from the supermassive black hole in the galaxy's center. Hundreds of small dots show emission from material around black holes and other dense stellar objects. The bright blue blob on the left side is emission from a double star system containing either a neutron star or a black hole.
December 8th, 2011
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