Chandra Deep view of the center of the Milky Way
Credit: NASA/CXC/MIT/F.K.Baganoff et al.

Where the Wild Things Are

The centers of spiral galaxies, like our own Milky Way, are host to some of the most energetic creatures in the astrophysical zoo. For some reason celestial monsters like black holes (of a wide variety of masses), neutron stars, and groups of extremely massive stars can be found there in large numbers. Probably the best view of the center of a spiral galaxy is shown above. This image is from a deep pointing made by the Chandra X-ray Observatory, and shows many point sources (most of which are some type of compact object) as well as the unusual object Sgr A*, thought to represent the Milky Way's "inactive" supermassive black hole. Also visible in the image are two lobes of hot gas being blown off the disk of the galaxy by processes yet to be fully identified.

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Each week the HEASARC brings you new, exciting and beautiful images from X-ray and Gamma ray astronomy. Check back each week and be sure to check out the HEAPOW archive!

Page Author: Dr. Michael F. Corcoran
Last modified Mon May 05 07:15:22 EDT 2003