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The Center of Our Galaxy

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Return to astrophotos

This is a wide angle photograph of the center of our galaxy, the Milky Way. It is located in the general direction of the constellation Sagittarius. This is an extremely rich area of the night sky. The white "clouds" are millions of stars, so close together in the sky that they can not be seen individually without optical aid. The reddish objects scattered around the image are nebulae, great glowing clouds of (mainly) hydrogen gas. These gas clouds are centers of formation of even more stars. The brightest nebula, near center, is Messier 8, the Lagoon nebula.

Much of our view of our galaxy's center is obscured by enormous clouds of dust. These dust clouds are visible in this image as dark “blobs” that intersect the bands of stars. These areas are not darker because there are no stars there, rather it is because the stars are obscured by the dust clouds between us and the stars.

This image was taken from the wonderful Cherry Springs dark-sky park in Pennsylvania, on July 29, 2003. It is a combination of two 30 minute exposures on Kodak Supra 400 film. It was taken through a 50mm lens.

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