The center of our galaxy shines in greater detail than ever before, in this new composite image from NASA's Chandra X-Ray Observatory. (Click to enlarge.) The whole gamut of stellar evolution is here, from bright young stars to black holes.

The diffuse X-ray light suffusing the image comes from gas that has been heated by stellar explosions, massive young stars — and outflows powered by the supermassive blackhole at the heart of the galaxy, Sagittarius A. Scientists believe Sagittarius A gave off giant X-ray flares 50 years and 300 years earlier. (So when we finally visit the center of the galaxy searching for the mythical planet Sha-Ka-Ree in order to meet God and ask him why he wants a spaceship, we should time our visit to avoid one of those irregular X-ray bursts.) [Chandra]