Glossary term: Galactic Center

Description: The galactic center is the central region of the Milky Way (the galaxy in which the Solar System is located), the region that the Milky Way disk rotates around. The galactic center is part of the galactic bulge and is around 27,000 light years (8 kiloparsecs) from the Solar System, compared to the diameter of the galactic disk of about 100,00 light years (roughly 31 kiloparsecs). It contains the radio source Sagittarius A and the compact radio source Sagittarius A* which is the supermassive black hole at the heart of our Galaxy. This black hole, which has a mass of approximately 4.5 million solar masses, is orbited by several young, massive stars. All this is surrounded by millions of older stars making up the so-called nuclear star cluster.

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Term and definition status: This term and its definition have been approved by a research astronomer and a teacher

The OAE Multilingual Glossary is a project of the IAU Office of Astronomy for Education (OAE) in collaboration with the IAU Office of Astronomy Outreach (OAO). The terms and definitions were chosen, written and reviewed by a collective effort from the OAE, the OAE Centers and Nodes, the OAE National Astronomy Education Coordinators (NAECs) and other volunteers. You can find a full list of credits here. All glossary terms and their definitions are released under a Creative Commons CC BY-4.0 license and should be credited to "IAU OAE".