LOS ANGELES, Dec. 19 (Xinhua) -- A team of astronomers has produced a new image of an arc-shaped object in the center of the Milky Way galaxy, according to a release issued by the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), on Thursday.
Resembling a candy cane, the feature is a magnetic structure that covers an enormous region of some 160 light-years. A light-year is the distance light travels in one year, which is equal to almost 9.6 trillion km.
The new image shows the inner part of the galaxy, which houses the largest, densest collection of giant molecular clouds in the Milky Way, according to the university.
These vast, cool clouds contain enough dense gas and dust to form tens of millions of stars like the sun, said Mark Morris, a member of the research team which produced the image.
"The candy cane is a magnetic feature in which we can literally see the magnetic field lines illuminated by the radio emission," Morris said. "The new result revealed by this image is that one of the filaments is inferred to contain extremely high-energy electrons, the origin of which remains an interesting and unsettled issue."
To produce the new image, the astronomers used a NASA 2-mm camera instrument called GISMO, along with a 30-meter radio telescope located at Pico Veleta, Spain.