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More Images of Galactic Center
Labeled X-ray Filaments in the Chandra image of the Galactic Center
The area around Sagittarius A* (Sgr A*) contains several mysterious X-ray filaments. Some of these likely represent huge magnetic structures interacting with streams of very energetic electrons produced by rapidly spinning neutron stars or perhaps by a gigantic analog of a solar flare.
(Credit: NASA/CXC/UMass/D. Wang et al.)

Labeled Chandra Image of the Galactic Center
A panoramic X-ray view, covering a 900-by-400 light-year swath, shows that the center of the Galaxy is a teeming and tumultuous place. There are supernova remnants: SNR 0.9-0.1, Sagittarius A East, and probably the X-ray Thread. There are many bright X-ray sources, which astronomers believe are binary systems -or pairs of orbiting objects- that contain a black hole or a neutron star (the 1E sources). There are hundreds of unnamed point-like sources that scientists think are solo neutron stars or white dwarfs, which all light up the region. In addition, the massive stars in the Arches and other star clusters (the DB sources) will soon explode to produce more supernovas, neutron stars, and black holes. Additional telescopes have also found other exotic members of this cosmic zoo. Infrared and radio observations find giant molecular clouds (Sagittarius A, B1, B2, and C, and the Cold Gas Cloud near the Radio Arc) where stars form. Normally too cool to be detected in X-rays, the edges of these clouds have been heated, allowing Chandra to see their X-ray glow. All this commotion takes place in a diffuse cloud of hot gas that shows up as extended X-ray emission. This diffuse X-ray glow gets brighter toward the Galactic Center. Sagittarius A (Sgr A), the bright blob in the center, is composed of three main parts: Sgr A East, Sgr A West, and Sgr A*. Sgr A East is the remnant of a supernova that stirred things up about 10,000 years ago. Sgr A West is a spiral-shaped structure of gas that may be falling toward Sgr A*, the supermassive black hole that marks the center of the Milky Way Galaxy. Sgr A* contains about 3 million times the mass of the Sun, and is gaining weight daily as it pulls in more material.
More at
(Credit: NASA/CXC/UMass/D. Wang et al.)

Uncropped Chandra image of the Galactic Center
In this new and deep image from Chandra of the Galactic Center, red represents lower-energy X-rays, green shows the medium range, and blue indicates the higher-energy X-rays. Hundreds of small dots show emission from material around black holes, neutron stars and white dwarfs. A supermassive black hole -- some four million times more massive the Sun -- resides within the bright, blue-white region on the right. The diffuse X-ray light comes from gas heated to millions of degrees by outflows from the supermassive black hole, winds from giant stars, and stellar explosions.
(Credit: NASA/CXC/UMass/D. Wang et al.)

Galactic Center with Scale Bar
(Credit: NASA/CXC/UMass/D. Wang et al.

Galactic Center (September 21, 2009)