Infrared Universe: Multiwavelength Milky Way Center
Release Date: July 23, 2018 10:00AM (EDT)
Media Use: Copyright
About This Video
Observations using infrared light and X-ray light see through the obscuring dust and reveal the intense activity near the galactic core. The densely packed starfields at our galaxy's center are hidden behind dust clouds and only become visible in infrared light. The center of the galaxy, located in the lower right part of the image, becomes more apparent as you go to shorter, more high energy wavelengths. The entire image width covers about one-half a degree, about the same angular width as the full moon.
Infrared: Dusty clouds near young stars glow in infrared light and reveal their often-dramatic shapes.
Near-Infrared: The galactic center is marked by the bright patch in the lower right. Along the left side are large arcs of warm gas that have been heated by clusters of bright massive stars.
X-ray: X-rays detected by Chandra expose a wealth of exotic objects and high-energy features. A supermassive black hole – some four million times more massive than the Sun – resides within the bright region in the lower right.
ABOUT THE INFRARED UNIVERSE COLLECTION
The human eye can only see visible light, but objects give off a variety of wavelengths of light. To see an object as it truly exists, we would ideally look at its appearance through the full range of the electromagnetic spectrum. Telescopes show us objects as they appear emitting different energies of light, with each wavelength conveying unique information about the object. The Webb Space Telescope will study infrared light from celestial objects with much greater clarity and sensitivity than ever before. Explore the Infrared Universe.