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NASA image shows the spectacular beauty of the Milky Way’s ‘downtown’

If you ever wondered what the center of our galaxy looks like, you can now satiate your curiosity by checking out a new image from NASA that depicts it in unprecedented detail.

The marvelous picture of our galaxy’s violent, super-energized “downtown” (which you can see above) is a composite of 370 observations made over the past two decades by NASA’s orbiting Chandra X-ray observatory. It depicts billions of stars and countless black holes in the center of the Milky Way.

In addition to data from Chandra — an observatory that was launched in 1999 and is in an extreme oval orbit around Earth — the image also includes observations from a radio telescope in South Africa. Astronomer Daniel Wang from the University of Massachusetts Amherst has worked on it over the past year while stuck at home during the pandemic.

“What we see in the picture is a violent or energetic ecosystem in our galaxy’s downtown,” said Mr. Wang. “There are a lot of supernova remnants, black holes, and neutron stars there. Each X-ray dot or feature represents an energetic source, most of which are in the center.”

According to SkyNews, the hectic, high-energy galactic center depicted in the image is 26,000 light-years away — which means that it would take you about 967,200,000 years to get there with NASA’s Discovery Space Shuttle.

Image source: NASA

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