This striking image of the centre of the galaxy shows the galactic plane running from top to bottom, spanning more than 2° in the sky – about 900 light-years. It combines more than a month of data from ESA’s XMM-Newton X-ray observatory. Red corresponds to energies between 0.5 and 2 keV, green from 2 to 4.5 keV, and blue X-ray energies between 4.5 and 12 keV. The central supermassive black hole lies within the area of intense blue-whie radiation, just above the centre of this image. Above that, an elliptical structure represents a super-bubble blown by supernova winds. Dr Gabriele Ponti of the Max Planck Institute for Extra-terrestrial Physics led this work, which is published in Monthly Notices of the RAS. (ESA/XMM-Newton/G Ponti et al. 2015)
This image is published in the October 2015 issue of Astronomy & Geophysics.