The Milky Way's Center


Creator: Cool Cosmos/IPAC

The center of our Milky Way Galaxy is located in the constellation of Sagittarius. In visible light the lion's share of stars are hidden behind thick clouds of dust. This obscuring dust becomes increasingly transparent at infrared wavelengths. This 2MASS image reveals multitudes of otherwise hidden stars, penetrating all the way to the central star cluster of the Galaxy.
This central core is about 25,000 light years away and is thought to harbor a supermassive black hole. The reddening of the stars here and along the Galactic Plane is due to scattering by the dust; it is the same process by which the sun appears to redden as it sets.

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Image Details

Image Type
Object Name
Milky Way Galactic Center
Subject - Milky Way
Star » Evolutionary Stage » Protostar
Nebula » Type » Interstellar Medium
Galaxy » Component » Center/Core

Color Mapping

  Telescope Spectral Band Wavelength
Arrow_left_blue 2MASS Infrared 1.3 µm
Arrow_left_green 2MASS Infrared 1.7 µm
Arrow_left_red 2MASS Infrared 2.2 µm