The image is that of the violent and hyper-energized “downtown” of the galaxy and is a composite of 370 observations of Nasa‘s Chandra X-ray Observatory.
The images were taken over the past two decades and depict billions of stars and black holes in the center or core of the Milky Way.
A radio telescope in South Africa contributed to the picture, astronomer Daniel Wang of the University of Massachusetts Amherst working on it while stranded at home during the pandemic.
“What we see in the photo is a violent or energetic ecosystem in the downtown core of our galaxy,” Wang said.
“There are a lot of supernova remnants, black holes and neutron stars out there. Each point or feature of x-rays represents an energy source, most of which is at the center. “
This bustling, high-energy galactic center is 26,000 light years away. This means that if you took an elevator when you discovered the space shuttle, it would take about 967,200,000 years to get there.
Chandra, which was launched in 1999, is in an extreme oval orbit around the Earth.
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In 2019, Chandra and telescopes in China, Spain and Hawaii discovered a black hole so big that scientists said it shouldn’t exist.
The black hole was photographed 15,000 light years from Earth and had a mass 70 times that of the Sun.
And on Friday, a team of scientists from the International Dark Energy Survey (DES) released a new dark matter map which covers a quarter of the sky of the southern hemisphere.
Dark matter is unobservable from Earth, but scientists have reconstructed the map by examining how light from distant galaxies has been distorted on its way to Earth.
The presence of dark matter would bend the rays coming towards us.