*See photos below*
In celebration of the International Year of Astronomy, NASA has unveiled a never-before-seen view of the "turbulent heart" of the Milky Way galaxy.
The image displays views of the Milky Way's core, as seen by NASA's Great Observatories and combines images captured by the Hubble Space Telescope, Spitzer Space Telescope, and Chandra X-ray Observatory.
The sites will unveil a giant, 6-foot-by-3-foot print of the bustling hub of our galaxy that combines 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 into one multi-wavelength picture. Experts from all three observatories carefully assembled the final image from large mosaic photo surveys taken by each telescope. This composite image provides one of the most detailed views ever of our galaxy's mysterious core.
The International Year of Astronomy honors the 400 years since Galileo "first turned his telescope to the heavens in 1609," NASA says.
See the amazing Milky Way portrait below, and then below it, the images that were combined to create it:
NASA explains the three telescope images used to create the Milky Way portrait are each shown in a different color (See image below):
Yellow represents the near-infrared observations of Hubble. They outline the energetic regions where stars are being born as well as reveal hundreds of thousands of stars.
Red represents the infrared observations of Spitzer. The radiation and winds from stars create glowing dust clouds that exhibit complex structures from compact, spherical globules to long, stringy filaments.
Blue and violet represent the X-ray observations of Chandra. X-rays are emitted by gas heated to millions of degrees by stellar explosions and by outflows from the supermassive black hole in the galaxy's center. The bright blue blob on the left side is emission from a double star system containing either a neutron star or a black hole.