Astronomy Picture of the Day

Discover the cosmos! Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe is featured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer.

January 28, 1999
See Explanation.  Clicking on the picture will download 
 the highest resolution version available.

The Galactic Center - A Radio Mystery
Credit: N. E. Kassim, D. S. Briggs, T. J. W. Lazio, T. N. LaRosa, J. Imamura (NRL/RSD)

Explanation: Tuning in to the center of our Milky Way galaxy, radio astronomers explore a complex, mysterious place. A premier high resolution view, this startlingly beautiful picture covers a 4x4 degree region around the galactic center. It was constructed from 1 meter wavelength radio data obtained by telescopes of the Very Large Array near Socorro, New Mexico, USA. The galactic center itself is at the edge of the extremely bright object labeled Sagittarius (Sgr) A, suspected of harboring a million solar mass black hole. Along the galactic plane which runs diagonally through the image are tortured clouds of gas energized by hot stars and round-shaped supernova remnants (SNRs) - hallmarks of a violent and energetic cosmic environment. But perhaps most intriguing are the arcs, threads, and filaments which abound in the scene. Their uncertain origins challenge present theories of the dynamics of the galactic center.

Tomorrow's picture: Lunar

< Archive | Index | Search | Calendar | Glossary | Education | About APOD >

Authors & editors: Robert Nemiroff (MTU) & Jerry Bonnell (USRA)
NASA Technical Rep.: Jay Norris. Specific rights apply.
A service of: LHEA at NASA/ GSFC
&: Michigan Tech. U.