Q&A: Galaxies, Galaxy Clusters, AGN, and Quasars
Thanks for your good question. The center of our galaxy is very bright, but
because the solar system is located in the plane of the galaxy, there is a
lot of gas and dust that blocks our view of the middle of the galaxy. For
example, in the southern hemisphere in winter the middle of the galaxy is
directly above you in the sky. You can see a lot of stars, but you can also
see dark patches because of dust and gas.
If we were to travel upwards or downwards out of the plane of the galaxy,
you would see the middle of the galaxy getting much brighter. But this
journey is well beyond our capabilities.
I should point out that this discussion applies to optical radiation that
we see with our eyes. Radiation at different wavelengths can do a better
job at penetrating dust and gas, so the middle of the galaxy can look much