The centre of the Milky Way
The centre of our Milky Way galaxy is located in the southern constellation Sagittarius (The Archer) and is "only" 26,000 light-years away. On high-resolution images, it is possible to discern thousands of individual stars within the central, one light-year wide region.
Using the motions of these stars to probe the gravitational field, observations over the last decade have shown that a mass of about 3 million times that of the Sun is concentrated within a radius of only 10 light-days of the compact radio and X-ray source SgrA* (Sagittarius A) at the centre of the star cluster. This means that SgrA* is the most likely counterpart of the black hole believed to exist at the centre of our Galaxy.
This image was obtained in mid-2002 with the NACO instrument at the 8.2-m VLT Yepun telescope. It combines frames in three infrared wavebands between 1.6 and 3.5 µm. The compact objects are stars and their colours indicate their temperature (blue ="hot", red ="cool"). There is also diffuse infrared emission from interstellar dust between the stars.
A newer image of that region has been published in 2008; see image eso0846a.Bildnachweis:
Über das Bild
|Veröffentlichungsdatum:||16. Oktober 2002|
|Größe:||2598 x 2362 px|
Über das Objekt
|Name:||Milky Way Galactic Centre|
|Typ:||Milky Way : Galaxy|
|Position (RA):||17 45 40.04|
|Position (Dec):||-29° 0' 26.95"|
|Field of view:||0.30 x 0.28 arcminutes|
|Orientierung:||Die Nordrichtung liegt 0.3° rechts zur Vertikale|