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THE CENTER of The Milky Way Galaxy

  1. May 28, 2010 #1
    THE CENTER of The Milky Way Galaxy!!!

    Supposedly, in the center of our galaxy (and in most galaxies, if I'm not mistaken) there is a super massive black hole.

    In my mind I've always had the picture of a galaxy where there is a bright light in the center and lots of starts orbiting it... so if it's actually a black hole why is the center usually depicted as a bright light?

    I guess it's because that's just the way they want to "draw" it, but I would like to know if there's another reason or perhaps if there's information I'm missing about this matter.
  2. jcsd
  3. May 28, 2010 #2


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    Re: THE CENTER of The Milky Way Galaxy!!!

    Compared to what you can see with the naked eye, the black hole is EXTREMELY small. When we see the center of the galaxy as a bright object, it's because of the combined light of millions and millions of stars. The SMBH (supermassive black hole) is only one point among millions, so the center still appears very bright.
  4. May 28, 2010 #3
    Re: THE CENTER of The Milky Way Galaxy!!!

    Indeed, that makes a lot of sense, I'm surprised ( or rather, disappointed ) by the fact that I didn't think of it earlier.
    Thank you for your help.
    I'll send you a picture of my private toilet paper collection as a reward.
  5. May 28, 2010 #4
    Re: THE CENTER of The Milky Way Galaxy!!!

    In addition to what Nabeshin said, black holes are often surrounded by an accretion disk of super heated gas and dust that is being swept up by the BH and radiates intensely, so even if we could zoom in on the black hole it's self it would still appear incredibly bright.
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