It was the 400th anniversary of Galileo's first telescopic view of the heavens the other day, and NASA unveiled this incredible panoramic view of the center of our galaxy. It's a composite of images from all of NASA's great observatories.

The first image consists of a near-infrared view from the Hubble Space Telescope, an infrared view from the Spitzer Space Telescope, and an X-ray view from the Chandra X-ray Observatory, all mashed up. This is one of the most detailed images ever of our galaxy's mysterious core, and exposes the whole range of stellar evolution, from areas bursting with star birth, to hot new stars, to cooler old stars, to black holes.

The X-ray light reveals gas that has been heated to millions of degrees by outflows from the supermassive black hole as well as winds from nearby stars and stellar explosions. The infrared light reveals all of the areas teeming with bright newborn stars.


Check out the other images in our gallery.

Hubble Space Telescope image


Spitzer Space Telescope image


Chandra Observatory image



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