This object - or these objects, depending on how you want to "see" (understand) them - lies west of the teapot's handle in the constellation of Sagittarius, at the edge of the Milky Way's central bulge. The object has been named The Bird because astronomers were looking for something familiar to see. If you're looking for tidal distortion, you'll see it. If you're looking for Birkeland current braiding, you'll see it. The high redshift (z=0.049) means that the object (or objects) is 650 million light years away. The Teapot is an asterism - the Milk Dipper is part of the Teapot. The Milky Way can be imagined as the steam rising from the spout. The Milky Way as seen from the Earth is at its densest as it passes through Sagittarius, as this is where the galactic center lies. Consequently, Sagittarius contains many star clusters and nebulae. One of the brightest of the star clusters is Messier 55, about 7.5° west of Sagittarius.
Greek legends tell us that Sagittarius is a centaur, half human, half horse. He was the son of Saturn and Plyilyra and is said to have changed himself into a horse to escape his jealous wife, Rhea. Sagittarius has the rough appearance of a stick-figure archer drawing its bow, and when including the fainter stars, appears to have a horse-like body. The Greeks identified such a figure as a centaur, whereas earlier cultures, such as the Babylonians, identified it as the god Pabilsag (which also had wings and a lion's head). In Greek mythology, Sagittarius was always identified as Chiron, aiming his bow at the Scorpion, although the more usual identification of Chiron was with the constellation Centaurus. The constellation Sagitta was sometimes considered to be an arrow fired by Sagittarius.
Sagittarius A (or Sgr A) is a complex radio source at the center of our galaxy. Located in the Sagittarius constellation, it is hidden from view at optical wavelengths by large clouds of cosmic dust in the spiral arms of the Milky Way. Sgr A consists of three components, the supernova remnant Sagittarius A East, the spiral structure Sagittarius A West, and a very bright compact radio source at the center of the spiral, Sagittarius A*. These three overlap: Sagittarius A East is the largest, West appears off-center within East, and A* is at the center of West.
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