The Hubble telescope got the best look at the Milky Way’s galactic center to date, which spans 35,000 light years and contains a group of newly discovered massive stars, super-hot, ionized hydrogen gases (that red stuff) and a supermassive black hole (where all that red stuff is swirling around). If it weren’t for those gasses we’d be able to see the galactic center from home, no problem, but to grab this candid shot of our galaxy at work, Hubble had to peer beyond all that galactic debris using its handy dandy Near Infrared Camera and Multi-Object Spectrometer (basically it’s an infrared camera that can see through galactic dust bunnies).
Aside from looking damn cool, why is seeing the center of our galaxy so important? Being able to observe the center of the Milky Way allows astronomers to study various processes taking place in our galaxy and, by proxy, allows them to draw conclusions as to what is going on in OTHER galaxies as well. Pretty awesome, no? If science and discovery isn’t enough for you, then I got nothin’.