The heart of the Milky Way looks like contemporary art in this new radio image

The supermassive black hole Sagittarius A*, which sits at the center of the Milky Way, shines in the lower center of this closeup image from the MeerKAT radio telescope

An image that looks like a trippy Eye of Sauron or splatter of modern art is actually a new detailed look at the Milky Way’s chaotic center, as seen in radio wavelengths.

The image was taken with the MeerKAT radio telescope array in South Africa over the course of three years and 200 hours of observing. It combines 20 separate images into a single mosaic, with the bright, star-dense galactic plane running horizontally. The MeerKAT team describes the image in a paper to be published in the Astrophysical Journal.

The MeerKAT telescope array in South Africa provided this image of radio emissions from the center of the Milky Way

MeerKAT captured radio waves from several astronomical treasures, including supernovas, stellar nurseries and the energetic region around the supermassive black hole at the galaxy’s center (SN: 8/31/21; SN: 9/17/19). One puffy supernova remnant can be seen in the bottom right of the image, and the supermassive black hole shows up as the bright orange “eye” in the center.