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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.
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.
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
eSky © copyright Mark Fisher 1999-2023