Extra X-rays at the Hub of our Milky Way Galaxy

Nustar_nustar150429a_500

nustar_nustar150429a April 29th, 2015

Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

NASA's Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array, or NuSTAR, has captured a new high-energy X-ray view (magenta) of the bustling center of our Milky Way galaxy. The smaller circle shows the area where the NuSTAR image was taken -- the very center of our galaxy, where a giant black hole resides. That region is enlarged to the right, in the larger circle, to show the NuSTAR data.

The NuSTAR picture is one of the most detailed ever taken of the center of our galaxy in high-energy X-rays. The X-ray light, normally invisible to our eyes, has been assigned the color magenta. The brightest point of light near the center of the X-ray picture is coming from a spinning dead star, known as a pulsar, which is near the giant black hole. While the pulsar's X-ray emissions were known before, scientists were surprised to find more high-energy X-rays than predicted in the surrounding regions, seen here as the elliptical haze.

Astronomers aren't sure what the sources of the extra X-rays are, but one possibility is a population of dead stars.

The background picture was captured in infrared light by NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope.

The NuSTAR image has an X-ray energy range of 20 to 40 kiloelectron volts.

Image Source: /image/nustar/nustar150429a

Curator: NuSTAR: Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array, Pasadena, CA

Image Use Policy: http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/imagepolicy/

Image Details

Image Type
Observation
Object Name
Milky Way Galactic Center
Subject - Milky Way
Star » Evolutionary Stage » Protostar
Nebula » Type » Interstellar Medium
Galaxy » Component » Center/Core

Distance

Universescale1
26,000 light years
Nustar_nustar150429a_128
 

Position Details

Position (ICRS)
RA = 17h 45m 37.2s
DEC = -28° 56’ 10.2”
Orientation
North is 58.6° CCW
Field of View
0.0 x 0.0 arcminutes
Constellation
Sagittarius

Color Mapping

  Telescope Spectral Band Wavelength
Arrow_left_magenta NuSTAR X-ray (Hard X-rays) 41.3 pm
Arrow_left_blue Spitzer (IRAC) Infrared (Near-IR) 3.6 µm
Arrow_left_green Spitzer (IRAC) Infrared (Mid-IR) 4.5 µm
Arrow_left_red Spitzer (IRAC) Infrared (Mid-IR) 8.0 µm
X-rays span energy range of 20 to 40 keV
Spectrum_xray1w
Arrow_top_magenta
Arrow_top_blue
Arrow_top_green
Arrow_top_red
Nustar_nustar150429a_1280
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ID
nustar150429a
Subject Category
B.3.1.1.   B.4.1.1.   B.5.4.9.  
Subject Name
Milky Way, Galactic Center
Credits
NASA/JPL-Caltech
Lightyears
26,000
Redshift
Reference Url
/image/nustar/nustar150429a
Type
Observation
Image Quality
Good
Distance Notes
Facility
NuSTAR, Spitzer, Spitzer, Spitzer
Instrument
-, IRAC, IRAC, IRAC
Color Assignment
Magenta, Blue, Green, Red
Band
X-ray, Infrared, Infrared, Infrared
Bandpass
Hard X-rays, Near-IR, Mid-IR, Mid-IR
Central Wavelength
0.041328, 3600, 4500, 8000
Start Time
Integration Time
Dataset ID
Notes
X
Coordinate Frame
ICRS
Equinox
Reference Value
266.40508920, -28.93617470
Reference Dimension
,
Reference Pixel
,
Scale
,
Rotation
58.6
Coordinate System Projection:
TAN
Quality
Position
FITS Header
Notes
Creator (Curator)
NuSTAR: Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array
URL
http://www.nustar.caltech.edu
Name
Email
Telephone
Address
City
Pasadena
State/Province
CA
Postal Code
Country
Rights
http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/imagepolicy/
Publisher
Spitzer Science Center
Publisher ID
nustar
Resource ID
Resource URL
/image/nustar/nustar150429a
Related Resources
Metadata Date
2015-07-06T22:22:28Z
Metadata Version
1.2
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Detailed color mapping information coming soon...

 

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Universescalefull
26,000 light years