The center of our Milky Way Galaxy is hidden from the prying eyes of optical telescopes by clouds of obscuring dust and gas. But the Spitzer Space Telescope's infrared cameras, penetrate much of the dust revealing the stars of the crowded galactic center region. Stars are packed together and race around the supermassive black hole that lies at the center. Our sun is located 26,000 light-years away in a more peaceful, spacious neighborhood, out in the galactic suburbs.
Inspired during a visit to Fort Davis, Texas, home of McDonald Observatory and dark night skies, photographer Larry Landolfi created this tantalizing fantasy view. The composited image suggests the Milky Way is a heavenly extension of a deserted country road. Image-credit:nasa.gov