Galactic Center

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Chandra X-ray
Observatory Center
Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics
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Galactic Center: The core of the Milky Way at a distance of some 26,000 light years from Earth.
(Credit: X-ray: NASA/CXC/UMass/D. Wang et al.; Optical: NASA/ESA/STScI/D.Wang et al.; IR: NASA/JPL-Caltech/SSC/S.Stolovy)

Caption: Data from NASA's Great Observatories has been combined to produce this unprecedented image of the central region of the Milky Way. Near-infrared light from Hubble (yellow) outlines energetic regions where stars are being born. Infrared data from Spitzer (red) show glowing clouds of dust containing complex structures. And, X-rays from Chandra (blue and violet) reveal gas heated to millions of degrees by stellar explosion and outflows from the Galaxy’s supermassive black hole.

Scale: Image is 32 by 16 arcmin.

Chandra X-ray Observatory ACIS Image

CXC operated for NASA by the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory