26 000 light-years
This is a stunning view showing the centre of the Milky Way galaxy in infrared light from the Spitzer Space Telescope. With visible light, dust between the Earth and the galactic centre obscures the view. However, infrared observations see through this dust, showing old stars in blue while the dust illuminated by hot, younger stars is red. The brightest white spot in the middle is the very centre of the galaxy, which also marks the site of a supermassive black hole.
Credit: NASA / JPL-Caltech / S. Stolovy (SSC / Caltech).
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