`Snowstorm of stars` captured at heart of Milky Way

`Snowstorm of stars` captured at heart of Milky Way

Submitted by alvin on Fri, 2016-04-01 13:08 Washington D.C: NASA's Hubble Space Telescope has captured a new, spectacular image of the center of our Milky Way.Peering deep into the heart of our galaxy, Hubble revealed a rich tapestry of more than half a million stars. Except for a few blue foreground stars, the stars are part of the Milky Way's nuclear star cluster, the most massive and densest star cluster in our galaxy.So packed with stars, it is equivalent to having a million suns crammed between us and our closest stellar neighbor, Alpha Centauri. At the very hub of our galaxy, this star cluster surrounds the Milky Way's central supermassive black hole, which is about 4 million times the mass of our sun.In this image, scientists translated the infrared light, which is invisible to human eyes, into colors our eyes can see. The red stars are either embedded or shrouded by intervening dust. Extremely dense clouds of gas and dust are seen in silhouette, appearing dark against the bright background stars. These clouds are so thick that even Hubble's infrared capability could not penetrate them.This picture, spanning 50 light-years across, is a mosaic stitched from nine separate images fromHubble's Wide Field Camera 3. The center of the Milky Way is located 27,000 light-years away.The "snowstorm" of stars in the image is just the tip of the iceberg: Astronomers estimate that about 10 million stars in this cluster are too faint to be captured in this image. (ANI)