(See description below)
Milkyway Galaxy in X-Ray
This 400 by 900 light-year mosaic of several Chandra images of
the central region of our Milky Way galaxy reveals hundreds of
white dwarf stars, neutron stars, and black holes bathed in an
incandescent fog of multimillion-degree gas. The supermassive
black hole at the center of the Galaxy is located inside the
bright white patch in the center of the image. The colors
indicate X-ray energy bandsred (low), green (medium), and
The mosaic gives a new perspective on how the turbulent Galactic Center region affects the evolution of the Galaxy as a whole. An analysis of the X-ray data showed that the temperature of the gas does not have to be 100 million degrees Celsius, as previously thought. Rather, a relatively mild 10 million degrees will do.
This hot gas appears to be escaping from the center into the rest of the Galaxy. The outflow of gas, chemically enriched from the frequent destruction of stars, will distribute these elements into the galactic suburbs. Because it is only about 25,000 light years from Earth, the center of our Galaxy provides an excellent laboratory to learn about the cores of other galaxies.