Hubble captures amazing view of Milky Way

Story highlights

  • Hubble's latest photo shows a half-million stars at the center of the Milky Way
  • The photo spans a distance of 50 light-years

(CNN)Stars upon stars upon stars.

In a new image, the Hubble Space Telescope peers into the center of the Milky Way, showcasing the star cluster at the center.
According to NASA, the photo contains more than a half-million stars. The star cluster is the densest in the galaxy.
Much of the light cast by those heavenly bodies is in the form of infrared radiation, so scientists translated Hubble's handiwork into visible colors. Even at that, the image shows great clouds of gas and dust -- "so thick that even Hubble's infrared capability could not penetrate them," a NASA press release noted.
The star cluster is 27,000 light-years away, and the Hubble photo -- which was stitched together from nine separate images -- spans a distance of 50 light-years, or about 300 trillion miles.
The word "galaxy," incidentally, is derived from the Greek for "Milky Way." Hubble's photos are giving a whole new depth to the word.