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Q&A: Milky Way Galaxy

Q:

Animation of Galactic Center
Many pictures of spiral galaxies show a very obvious bulge, a bright, central concentration of stars. Since we can see bright bulges in distant galaxies, why we don't see a bright one at the center of our own?

A:
The Milky Way does have a bright bulge that is densely packed with stars, but absorption by gas and dust makes it look much fainter than it really is. Because the Earth is located in the plane of the Milky Way, absorption towards the center of the Galaxy is especially severe.

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