Pistol star, one of our Galaxy's brightest stars
Glowing with the radiance of 10 million times that of our own Sun, Pistol is one of the intrinsically brightest stars in our Galaxy. It appears as the bright white dot in the centre of this image.
It is only possible to see this star with infrared observations because it is hidden at the galactic centre behind obscuring dust. Many other things of great interest to astronomers are only visible with infrared observations, either because they are hidden within or behind these vast clouds of cold gas and dust, or because they are very cold, like comets and asteroids. Infrared observations are essential for revealing these objects.
This image was taken by the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telecope with its Near Infrared Camera and Multi-Object Spectrometer (NICMOS).
Last update: 23 October 2003