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Encyclopedia > Galactic centre

The Galactic Center is the rotational center of the Milky Way galaxy. It is located at a distance of about 8 kiloparsecs in the brightest part of the Milky Way, in the direction of the constellation Sagittarius.

Because of cool interstellar dust along the line of sight, the Galactic Center cannot be studied at visible, ultraviolet or soft X-ray wavelengths. The available information about the Galactic Center comes from observations at gamma ray, hard X-ray, infrared, sub-millimetre and radio wavelengths.

The complex radio source Sagittarius A appears to be located almost exactly at the Galactic Center, and contains an intense compact radio source, Sagittarius A*, which many astronomers believe may coincide with a supermassive black hole at the center of our Galaxy. Accretion of gas onto the black hole, probably involving a disk around it, would release energy to power the radio source, itself much larger than the black hole. The latter is too small to see (in silhouette, of course) with present instruments.

The coordinates of Galactic Center in the Equatorial coordinate system are: Right Ascension 17h 45m 40s, Declination -29 00' 28".

External links

  • UCLA Galactic Center Group (http://www.astro.ucla.edu/research/galcenter/)
  • Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics Galactic Center Group (http://www.mpe.mpg.de/ir/GC/)

  Results from FactBites:
The Galactic centre and the Galactic plane (H. Kristen, Aa. Sandqvist) (229 words)
O and CO. This is coordinated with observations with the infrared ISO satellite.
The Galactic nucleus, at a distance of about 8 kpc and hidden behind about 30 magnitudes of visual extinction by cool interstellar dust along the line of sight, cannot be studied at visible, ultraviolet or soft X-ray wavelengths.
The centre of the Milky Way in the emission and abroption lines of different molecules with the SEST and the VLA is being mapped.
Galactic Center Research (0 words)
Due to its relative proximity of around 8 kiloparsecs, the Galactic Centre is a perfect laboratory to examine the physical processes in a galactic nucleus.
A HKL colour composite of the Galactic Centre region.
Near-infrared high-resolution observations of the galactic centre (GC) became possible since the beginning of the 1990s.
  More results at FactBites »



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