MapCam Images Milky Way Galaxy

On July 16, 2018, NASA’s OSIRIS-REx spacecraft obtained this image of the Milky Way near the star Gamma2 Sagittarii during a routine spacecraft systems check. The image is a 10 second exposure acquired using the panchromatic filter of the spacecraft’s MapCam camera.

The bright star in the lower center of the image is Gamma2 Sagittarii, which marks the tip of the spout of Sagittarius’ teapot near the center of the galaxy. The image is roughly centered on Baade’s Window, one of the brightest patches of the Milky Way, which fills approximately one fourth of the field of view. Relatively low amounts of interstellar dust in this region make it possible to view a part of the galaxy that is usually obscured. By contrast, the dark region near the top of the image, the Ink Spot Nebula, is a dense cloud made up of small dust grains that block the light of stars in the background.

MapCam is part of the OSIRIS-REx Camera Suite (OCAMS) operated by the University of Arizona.

Date Taken: July 16, 2018

Instrument Used: OCAMS (MapCam)

Credit: NASA/GSFC/University of Arizona


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