Discover the cosmos! Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe is featured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer.
2018 January 22
Explanation: What if you could look out from the centre of our Galaxy -- what might you see? Two scientifically-determined possibilities are shown in the featured video, an immersive 360-degree view which allows you to look around in every direction. The pictured computer simulation is based on infrared data from ESO's Very Large Telescope in Chile and X-ray data from NASA's orbiting Chandra X-ray Observatory. As the video starts, you quickly approach Sgr A*, the supermassive black hole in the Galactic centre. Then looking out, this 500-year time-lapse simulation shows glowing gas and many points of light orbiting all around you. Many of these points are young Wolf-Rayet stars that have visible hot winds blowing out into surrounding nebulae. Clouds approaching close become elongated, while objects approaching too close fall in. Toward the video's end the simulation repeats, but this time with the dynamic region surrounding Sgr A* expelling hot gas that pushes back against approaching material.
Authors & editors:
Jerry Bonnell (UMCP)
NASA Official: Phillip Newman Specific rights apply.
A service of: ASD at NASA / GSFC
& Michigan Tech. U.