Infrared image of the core of the Milky Way

Infrared image of the core of the Milky Way


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Centre of the Galaxy. Infrared image centred on the core (blue cross) of our Milky Way galaxy. The area shown here is about five light years across. The stars in this frame are thousands of times more brilliant than the Sun and many of them are probably very hot Wolf-Rayet stars, which are massive old stars continually shedding gas from their outer atmosphere at very high velocity. Such gas might then be lit up by the ultraviolet radiation of nearby stars and form nebulae such as the one (red and thin) seen at bottom right.

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