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More Images: NASA's Chandra Notices the Galactic Center is Venting
X-ray & Radio Images of the Galactic Center Vent
Credit: X-ray: NASA/CXC/Univ. of Chicago/S.C. Mackey et al.; Radio: NRF/SARAO/MeerKAT; Image Processing: NASA/CXC/SAO/N. Wolk
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Chandra data reveal several X-ray ridges that astronomers think are the walls of a tunnel, shaped like a cylinder, which helps funnel hot gas as it moves away from the Galactic Center. This “exhaust vent” is connected to a previously-discovered “chimney” and helps release hot gas generated by the supermassive black hole at the Galactic Center. In these images, Chandra’s X-rays are shown with radio data from MeerKAT to demonstrate the chimney and vent, with a closer-in view of the exhaust vent as well. The supermassive black hole is near the bottom of the image.

3D Printable Files: Galactic Center Vent
(3D Print Credit: NASA/CXC/A. Jubett, using software by Tactile Universe/N. Bonne & C. Krawczyk & Blender)
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Files for 3D Printing:

This tactile plate of a region near the center of our Milky Way galaxy is a physical relief map based on the intensity of X-ray and radio data, depicting a recently-discovered exhaust vent.

At the bottom of the plate, near the center, is a tangled knot of material that resembles a paint splatter. This is the most concentrated region in the image, and it contains the supermassive black hole at the center of our galaxy, known as Sagittarius A*.

The lower third of the image resembles an angry firestorm. Streaky ridges are scattered in every direction, as if a legion of embers from a fire crackled and popped into the air all at once. Flame-like structures lick toward the center from our right.

Much of the image is infused with wispy clouds depicting X-rays detected by Chandra. At a few points, the wispy clouds seem to form into balls and are known as dust halos. They are caused by X-rays from bright X-ray sources reflecting off dust surrounding the sources.

Rising up from Sagittarius A* in the center of the image is a pillar referred to as a chimney. This chimney of hot gas is surrounded by clouds filled with stars, presenting themselves as tiny bumps. Near the top of the pillar is a tiny streak that stands apart from the others. This streak is referred to as the chimney exhaust vent.

Return to: NASA's Chandra Notices the Galactic Center is Venting (May 9, 2024)