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Chandra reveals heart of Milky Way
Posted: Mon, Jan 14, 2002, 8:46 AM ET (1346 GMT)
X-ray image of Milky Way Center (NASA/UMass/D.Wang et al.) Images from the Chandra X-Ray Observatory have given astronomers a new look at the active center of the Milky Way galaxy, scientists recently reported. Images of the center revealed for the first time hundreds of individual sources of x-rays in the galactic core, in addition to the diffuse glow of x-rays from hot gas. The presence of individual sources has allow astronomers to lower the temperature of the hot gas by a factor of ten, to 10 million degrees. Astronomers also found evidence that the gas in the vicinity of the supermassive black hole in the center of the galaxy, three million times the mass of the Sun, may have been hundreds of times brighter in the past. High-pressure and high-temperature gas is also escaping the center of the galaxy to a tenuous halo.
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