Looking Toward the Center of the Galaxy

This animation looks toward the center of the Milky Way in three bands of light not visible to the naked eye. The near-infrared image (Hubble) shows the knots of cloud edges and emission that mark the plane of our galaxy. The mid-infrared image (Spitzer) highlights the clouds of gas and dust and star forming regions. The X-ray image (Chandra) tracks the most luminous and powerful stars in the area conspicuously revealing the galactic center region itself, including the million-solar mass black hole at the center. Several other X-ray sources associated with massive star clusters are also visible.

Video Credit: NASA / ESA / STScI

A New Look at M16

The Eagle Nebula (aka Messier 16 or M16) contains the young star cluster NGC 6611 and the star-forming region known as the Pillars of Creation. This new composite image shows the region around the Pillars. It combines X-ray data from the Chandra X-ray Observatory with Hubble Space Telescope optical data. The optical image, taken with filters to emphasize the interstellar gas and dust, shows dusty brown nebula immersed in a blue-green haze with a few stars showing up as pink dots. The Chandra data shows X-rays from star’s hot outer atmospheres. Low, medium, and high-energy X-ray data are colored red, green, and blue, respectively.

Image Credit: NASA