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Recent Podcast
A Tour of GSN 069
A Tour of GSN 069
Astronomers found X-ray bursts repeating about every nine hours coming from the supermassive black hole at the center of the galaxy GSN 069. (2019-09-11)


A Tour of the Galactic Center Visualization

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Narrator (April Jubett, CXC): It's often debated whether doing a sequel to a beloved movie is a good idea or not. A new visualization of the Milky Way's center is showing that "part two" of a galactic story is indeed better than the first.

This new movie is actually an immersive, ultra-high-definition visualization that allows viewers to view the center of our Galaxy as if they were sitting in the position of the Milky Way's supermassive black hole known as Sagittarius A* (Sgr A* for short) and could see X-rays. This new 360-movie offers an unparalleled opportunity to look around the center of the Milky Way in any direction the user chooses.

By combining NASA Ames supercomputer simulations with data from NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory, the latest visualization provides a new perspective of what is happening in and around the center of the Milky Way galaxy. From the vantage point of Sgr A*, the viewer can witness the effects of dozens of massive stellar giants with fierce winds blowing off their surfaces in the region a few light years surrounding Sgr A*. Watch as these winds provide a buffet of material for the 4-million-solar-mass black hole to feed upon. Sometimes dense clumps of material stream toward Sgr A*, and other times clumps of gas will collide resulting in a flash of X-rays.

Viewers can explore the Galactic Center in this new visualization using their laptop, smartphone, or virtual reality goggles.

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