From the July 2009 issue

What is the center of a galaxy made of that makes it so bright?

Ev Bruhnke, Laramie, Wyoming
By | Published: July 27, 2009 | Last updated on May 18, 2023
September 2009 Sombrero Galaxy
A spherical “bulge” of stars illuminates the center of the Sombrero Galaxy (M104) in this
visible-light portrait captured by the Hubble Space Telescope.
NASA/Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA)

It depends on the galaxy. Many large galaxies contain a central concentration of bright stars. Other galaxies have extremely luminous cores because a central supermassive black hole is consuming matter and radiating energy.