Galactic Center

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Chandra X-ray
Observatory Center
Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics
60 Garden St. Cambridge, MA 02138 USA
Galactic Center: A 400 by 900 light-year mosaic of images located about 26,000 light years from Earth in the constellation Sagittarius.
(Credit: NASA/CXC/UMass/D. Wang et al.)

Caption: This Chandra image exposes a wealth of exotic objects and high-energy features at the center of our galaxy, the Milky Way. In this new and deep image from Chandra, red represents lower-energy X-rays, green shows the medium range, and blue indicates the higher-energy X-rays. Hundreds of small dots show emission from material around black holes, neutron stars and white dwarfs. A supermassive black hole -- some four million times more massive the Sun -- resides within the bright, blue-white region on the right. The diffuse X-ray light comes from gas heated to millions of degrees by outflows from the supermassive black hole, winds from giant stars, and stellar explosions.

Scale: Image is 117 by 48 arcmin.

Chandra X-ray Observatory ACIS Image

CXC operated for NASA by the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory