NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope has captured a new photo of the Milky Way galaxy’s core, revealing a cluster of more than half a million stars.
Researchers say this nuclear star cluster is the densest in our galaxy—so dense, in fact, that it’s the equivalent of cramming a million suns between us and our closest stellar neighbor, Alpha Centauri, according to NASA.
The picture spans 50 light-years across and is stitched together from nine separate images. Scientists estimate the center of the Milky Way, which contains a supermassive black hole called Sagittarius A-star, is located roughly 27,000 light-years away.
“The ‘snowstorm’ of stars in the image is just the tip of the iceberg: Astronomers estimate that about 10 million stars in this cluster are too faint to be captured in this image,” NASA said.
Hubble’s infrared vision was utilized to peer through the dust in the disk of our galaxy, and to translate infrared light into colors the human eye can see.
The above gallery includes other photos snapped by Hubble.