The Galactic Center is the rotational center of the Milky Way galaxy; it is a supermassive black hole of 4.100 million solar masses, which powers the compact radio source Sagittarius A*. It is 26,670 ly away from Earth in the direction of the constellations Sagittarius, Ophiuchus, and Scorpius where the Milky Way appears brightest.
There are around 10 million stars within one parsec of the Galactic Center, dominated by red giants, with a significant population of massive supergiants and Wolf-Rayet stars from star formation in the region around 1 million years ago. You can see a similar number of stars in the frame of this photo.
This photograph was taken using an one-of-a-kind observational setup consisting of two identical telescopes optimized for astrophotography. This kind of configuration allows for covering large portions of the night sky in a short time - the entire photographic material was collected over the course of a single night.
Exposure of such a large picture was done piece by piece, with an shutter time of 4 minutes for each pane. The end result is a mosaic of 110 panes (55 per telescope) in a total resolution of nearly 2.5 gigapixels.
This makes it one of the largest photographs of the cosmos ever taken from the surface of our planet, with an unparalleled detail and abundance of deep sky objects included on a single image.
This picture was created on a desert farm in Namibia, many miles from the nearest settlement, in an area completely free of artificial light pollution.
Artist: Bartosz Wojczynski. Astronomy lover with over ten years of experience in the field of astrophotography. Winner of many prestigious awards, incl. Astrobin Image of the Day and NASA APOD (Astronomy Picture of the Day). Organizer of astrophotographic expeditions to the darkest places on our planet. Bartosz appreciates versatility and diversity – his photographic output includes both deep sky photos, extreme close-ups of the moon, and astroscapes that show the beauty of outer space in a wide field. On a daily basis he works as a specialist in image processing and 3D graphics.