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Galactic Nucleus

Galactic Core

An ellipsoidal mass of stars and interstellar matter that occupies the central regions of a spiral galaxy. In our own Galaxy, it is some 30,000 light years across, and is occupied primarily by older orange and red stars. There is evidence to suggest that a massive black hole lies in its central regions, and indeed this may be a common feature of spiral galaxies in general.

Location of the Galactic Centrepoint

If the Galactic Nucleus was visible from Earth, it would appear as a narrow ellipse stretching over some 42° between Ophiuchus and Scorpius. The central point of the Nucleus lies in Sagittarius, beyond the faint star 3 Sagittarii.

Location of the Galactic Nucleus

The Solar System lies in one of the outer arms of the Milky Way Galaxy, approximately 27,000 light years out from the Galaxy's core.

NGC 6384 in Ophiuchus is a spiral galaxy showing a pronounced nuclear region. In this case, the nucleus is ellipsoid in form, representing an intermediate stage towards a barred spiral form. Imagery provided by Aladin sky atlas


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