September 25, 2022
This week James Webb Telescope adjusted its focus to view Galcen - Galactic center of our Milky way galaxy. James Webb Telescope spent hours gathering data on Galactic center on September 19, 2022.
The rotational and barycentric center of the Milky Way galaxy is known as the Galactic Center. Sagittarius A*, a compact radio source that is almost perfectly at the galactic rotational center, is the galaxy's central massive object and is a supermassive black hole with a mass of roughly 4 million solar masses. The Milky Way's brightest points, the Butterfly Cluster (M6) or the star Shaula, are visually close to the Galactic Center, which is roughly 26,000 light-years from Earth in the direction of the constellations Sagittarius, Ophiuchus, and Scorpius. To the south of Galcen is the Pipe Nebula.
Within one parsec of the Galactic Center, there are about 10 million stars, most of which are red giants. There is also a sizeable population of enormous supergiants and Wolf-Rayet stars that resulted from star formation in the area about 1 million years ago. Within the considerably larger galactic bulge, the core stars make up a very minor portion.
Clouds of obscuring dust and gas shield the center of our Milky Way galaxy from the inquisitive eyes of optical observatories. The infrared cameras on the Spitzer Space Telescope, however, can see through much of the dust in this breathtaking scene and has previously been able to identify the stars in the dense galactic center region. A significantly enhanced infrared vision will be available with James Webb Space Telescope, giving it the ability to reveal smaller stars and finer features.
A 4 million times more massive black hole than our Sun is located in the heart of our galaxy, surrounded by millions of stars moving at breakneck speed. Extreme ultraviolet and X-ray rays flood this hostile environment. However, a large portion of this activity is hidden from our view because it is covered in interstellar dust.
The James Webb Space Telescope from NASA is built to observe the universe in infrared light, which is not visible to the human eye but is crucial for observing celestial objects covered in dust. Infrared light that has pierced the dusty shroud will be collected by Webb after launch, showing the galactic center in unprecedented detail.