Multiwavelength images of the Galactic Center near the Quintuplet cluster
Credit: X-ray: NASA/CXC/NWU/C.Law & F.Zadeh; IR: NASA/ESO/STScI/D.Figer et al.; Radio: NRAO/VLA/F.Zadeh et al.

Where the Wild Winds Are

There's a lot hidden at the dark heart of the Milky Way. Hidden by distance, and hidden by dust. Radio, infrared and X-ray observations have helped give astronomers a new view, and a new understanding, of this region. Surprisingly massive star clusters live there, like the Quintuplet Cluster. The image above shows in lower left, a large-scale view of a region of the Galactic Center. The inset shows infrared (in green) and X-ray (in blue) images of the Quintuplet cluster, so named since it's dominated by 5 bright infrared stars. The X-ray observation (by the Chandra X-ray telescope) shows surprisingly bright X-ray emission. Astronomers believe this emission is probably produced by strong winds which blow from the stars against a lower-mass orbiting companion star. In a dark, dangerous region like the Galactic Center, where monsters lurk, it's good to have a buddy.

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Page Author: Dr. Michael F. Corcoran
Last modified Friday, 20-Apr-2012 15:27:17 EDT