The Very Large Array (VLA) was used to make the largest and most sensitive radio image of the Milky Way Galaxy’s center. The bright diagonal features trace our Galaxy’s disk-like shape viewed edge-on. The brightest source is called Sagittarius A. (The Galaxy’s center lies toward the constellation Sagittarius, or Sgr.) Deep within Sgr A is Sgr A*, a black hole with a mass millions of times that of the Sun. Hot young stars heat the gas around them in bright, round blobs. Massive supernovae explosions leave bubble-shaped remnants. Spiraling or synchrotron radiation makes a collection of strange, thread-like structures. Their emission, orientation, and structure provide important clues about the energetics and large-scale magnetic field structure.
Credit: B. Saxton, NRAO/AUI/NSF from data provided by N.E. Kassim, Naval Research Laboratory