Spitzer Captures Our Galaxy's Bustling Center

This Spitzer image shows hundreds of thousands of stars crowded into the swirling core of our spiral Milky Way galaxy. In this false-color picture, old and cool stars are blue, while dust features lit up by blazing hot, massive stars are shown in a reddish hue. Both bright and dark filamentary clouds can be seen, many of which harbor stellar nurseries. The plane of the Milky Way's flat disk is apparent as the main, horizontal band of clouds. The brightest white spot in the middle is the very center of the galaxy, which also marks the site of a supermassive black hole. Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech