A violent but prolific period of star formation is revealed in this image by the VLT’s near-infrared HAWK-I instrument.
Around 1,000 lightyears across, this super-dense region of the central Milky Way, teeming with stars, gas and dust, represents a period one billion years ago when, following several billion years of relative dormancy, millions of suns were formed in our Galaxy and 100,000 supernovae exploded.
Did you know that the Milky Way galaxy is due to merge with the nearby Andromeda Galaxy in the future? Find out more in our guide to the Andromeda-Milky Way collision.
Observatory Very Large Telescope
Release date 16 December 2019
Image credit ESO/Nogueras-Lara et al.