The stunning panorama was compiled using data from NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory and the MeerKAT Radio Telescope in South Africa.
The images also documented an x-ray wire known as G0.17-0.41 which the researchers said suggests a mechanism that could control the flow of energy, and even the evolution of the Milky Way.
“The galaxy is like an ecosystem,” Daniel Wang, astronomer at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, said in a statement. “We know that the centers of galaxies are where the action takes place and play a huge role in their evolution. ”
Our own galaxy is difficult to study because it is obscured by a haze of gas and dust. But researchers were able to penetrate the fog using the Chandra X-Ray Observatory, which sees X-rays instead of visible light.
The researchers were particularly interested in the X-ray wire G0.17-0.41, which, according to Wang, “reveals a new phenomenon”.
“This is evidence of an ongoing magnetic field reconnection event. The thread, Wang writes, is probably “just the tip of the reconnection iceberg.”
Magnetic field reconnection events occur when opposing magnetic fields are forced together and combine, expelling a lot of energy. These events produce the Northern Lights and are responsible for phenomena such as solar flares.
“It’s a violent process,” Wang said.
Scientists now believe that magnetic reconnection also takes place in interstellar space and occurs at the outer limits of expanding plumes driven from the center of our galaxy.