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Galactic Center (Survey) Multiwavelength Image
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(Credit: X-ray: NASA/UMass/
D.Wang et al., Radio: NRAO/AUI/NSF/NRL/
N.Kassim, Mid-Infrared: MSX)

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Galactic Center
Galactic Center
(10 Nov 09)
Galactic Center
Galactic Center
(22 Sep 09)

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Galactic Center:
Chandra Takes In The Bright Lights, Big City Of The Milky Way


Galactic Center
Credit: NASA/UMass/D.Wang et al.

This 400 by 900 light-year mosaic of several Chandra images of the central region of our Milky Way galaxy reveals hundreds of white dwarf stars, neutron stars, and black holes bathed in an incandescent fog of multimillion-degree gas. The supermassive black hole at the center of the Galaxy is located inside the bright white patch in the center of the image. The colors indicate X-ray energy bands - red (low), green (medium), and blue (high).

The mosaic gives a new perspective on how the turbulent Galactic Center region affects the evolution of the Galaxy as a whole. This hot gas appears to be escaping from the center into the rest of the Galaxy. The outflow of gas, chemically enriched from the frequent destruction of stars, will distribute these elements into the galactic suburbs. Because it is only about 26,000 light years from Earth, the center of our Galaxy provides an excellent laboratory to learn about the cores of other galaxies.

Fast Facts for Galactic Center:
Credit  NASA/UMass/D.Wang et al.
Scale  Image is 120 by 48 arcmin
Category  Normal Galaxies & Starburst Galaxies, Milky Way Galaxy
Coordinates (J2000)  RA 17h 45m 23s | Dec -29 01' 17.00"
Constellation  Sagittarius
Observation Dates  July 2001 (30 separate pointings)
Observation Time  94 hours total
Obs. IDs  2267 through 2296
Color Code  Energy
Instrument  ACIS
References Q.D. Wang et al. Nature, 415, 148, (2002)
Distance Estimate  About 26,000 light years
Release Date  January 09, 2002