The mysterious heart of our Milky Way galaxy is unveiled in new detail in this color composite image. The power of all three of NASA's Great Observatories – Spitzer, Chandra, and Hubble, had been brought to bear on the tumultuous galactic core. The colorful spectacle of stellar evolution plays out in a vast tapestry across the galactic center. The core hosts vibrant regions of star birth, against a fiery backdrop of glowing hydrogen. Permeating the region is a diffuse blue haze of X-ray light from gas that has been heated to millions of degrees by outflows from massive stars and supernovae. Infrared light reveals more than a hundred thousand stars along with reddish glowing dust clouds that create complex structures including compact globules and long filaments.
Publication: November 10, 2009