The Sciences

The Stars Budding from our Galaxy's Stellar Nursery

By Ernie MastroianniMar 27, 2017 12:00 PM
The region surrounding Sagittarius A*, the Milky Way's own supermassive black hole. Eventually, black holes will be the last remaining matter in the universe. (Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Judy Schmidt)

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This colorful vista reveals glowing clouds full of budding stars near our galaxy’s center. But neither the human eye nor ground-based telescopes can see this spectacular sight, which is obscured by cosmic dust. NASA’s space-based Spitzer and WISE telescopes, though, view the heavens in infrared light, which can punch through the dust. Judy Schmidt, an expert in processing spacecraft images, combined photos from both telescopes to reveal this complex region centered on the Milky Way’s invisible supermassive black hole, called Sagittarius A*.

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