NASA Spots A Cosmic 'Candy Cane'-Like Formation In The Center Of Our Galaxy

NASA Spots A Cosmic 'Candy Cane'-Like Formation In The Center Of Our Galaxy

An image of the inner part of our galaxy was captured and revealed a very festive color combination, that looks like a candy-cane.

A cluster of giant molecular clouds that look like a candy cane seems to hold the secrets to the formation of stars. The inner part of our galaxy was captured by the Goddard-IRAM Superconducting 2-Millimeter Observer (GISMO) and revealed a very festive color combination right in time for Christmas.

The innermost part of our galaxy hosts the largest and densest collection of giant molecular clouds in the Milky Way was what the instrument took an image of.



“It was a real surprise to see the Radio Arc in the GISMO data,” said Richard Arendt, a team member at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County and Goddard.

“Its emission comes from high-speed electrons spiraling in a magnetic field, a process called synchrotron emission. Another feature GISMO sees, called the Sickle, is associated with star formation and may be the source of these high-speed electrons.



In a press release by NASA, they described the complicated manner in which GISMO was able to capture this image, which is essentially color codes different emission mechanisms.

They have combined the data from GISMO, the European Space Agency’s Herschel satellite, the SCUBA-2 instrument on the James Clerk Maxwell Telescope, and radio observations from the National Science Foundation’s Karl G. Jansky Very Large Array.



The candy cane handle is made up of Arches filaments that are areas full of ionized gas that represent well-developed star factories. The blue and cyan represent the areas where the star formation is still in its infancy revealing the cold dust in molecular clouds.

The Radio Arc, which is the red area that makes up the straight part of the candy cane is the bright source at the galaxy’s center that hosts its supermassive black hole.



"We're very intrigued by the beauty of this image; it's exotic,"  Johannes Staguhn of Johns Hopkins University, who led a paper describing the image, published in the Astrophysical Journal told CNN. "When you look at it, you feel like you're looking at some really special forces of nature in the universe."

In a press release, he says, "There's a good chance that a significant part of star formation that occurred during the universe's infancy is obscured and can't be detected by tools we've been using, and GISMO will be able to help detect what was previously unobservable."

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