DR FRED ESPENAK / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY DR FRED ESPENAK / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Central Milky Way. Optical image of star clouds which lie in the direction of the central core of our galaxy, the Milky Way, in the constellation of Sagittarius. The bright areas are star clouds containing millions of stars. These are intersected by dark dust lanes that block out the light from stars behind. The dust clouds and stars obscure the centre of the galaxy itself. Also seen are glowing interstellar clouds of gas (nebulae, pink). The large Lagoon Nebula is at centre left. The Milky Way is a disk-shaped spiral galaxy that contains at least 100 billion stars.
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