Chandra Images of the Galactic Center
Credit: NASA/CXC/UCLA/MIT/M.Muno et al.

The Hot Center

Detailed imaging of the center of the Milky Way Galaxy by the Chandra X-ray Observatory continues to reveal the physical nature of that unusual place. Previous observations showed in detail the region near the suspected supermassive black hole, Sgr A*, along with what appeared to be enormous lobes of hot gas on either side of this monster. In a new image covering a larger area, shown above, Chandra reveals the presence of an apparently diffuse cloud of few-million degree hot gas from the Galactic center, along with point-like emission from normal stars, neutron stars and black holes. The hot gas may have been produced by shock waves from supernova explosions. On the other hand, maybe the "diffuse" gas really isn't diffuse, but composed of X-rays emitted by unresolved point sources.

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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 Friday, 20-Apr-2012 15:25:30 EDT