X-ray view of the Galactic Centre
The European Space Agency has released stunning images showing off just how beautiful the centre of our galaxy is.
Captured by the agency's XMM-Newton X-ray observatory, the mesmerising pictures represent the tumultuous nature of the Milky Way.
Spanning 1,000 light years, the red and white fuzzy sparkles in the image depict young stars and stellar clusters, while the concentration of light in the middle is a sign that the centre of the galaxy is where all the action is happening.
This is largely due to a black hole, known as Sagittarius A*, which is located "within the bright, fuzzy source to the right of the image centre," the ESA stated.
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While the black hole itself does not give out light, it has a massive gravitational pull that draws in surrounding matter that emits many wavelengths including X-rays.
The Galactic Centre through the emission of heavy elements
Researchers will use these photos to gain a clearer understanding of the many interactions that take place in our galaxy.
For example, the two lobes of gas seen above and below the central concentration of light may either be caused by the black hole or by stellar winds -- a flow of material ejected from a star -- and supernova explosions.
A paper on the significance of these findings was published in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.