The centre of the Milky Way is normally veiled by clouds of interstellar dust and gas, hiding it from the prying eyes of telescopes.
Now, using the Spitzer Space Telescope’s infrared cameras, researchers have been able to penetrate the dust, and take a glimpse at the crowded centre of our galaxy.
As shown in this image, the supermassive black hole that lies at the centre is surrounded by millions of stars, whipping around at neck-breaking speeds. The extreme environment is filled with intense ultraviolet light and X-ray radiation.
And this might not be our only glimpse at the centre of our galaxy.
The upcoming launch of the James Webb Space Telescope is set to offer an even better view. The telescope, which is set to be launched in March next year, will reveal the galactic centre in unprecedented detail.
Read science facts, not fiction...
There’s never been a more important time to explain the facts, cherish evidence-based knowledge and to showcase the latest scientific, technological and engineering breakthroughs. Cosmos is published by The Royal Institution of Australia, a charity dedicated to connecting people with the world of science. Financial contributions, however big or small, help us provide access to trusted science information at a time when the world needs it most. Please support us by making a donation or purchasing a subscription today.