Astronomy Picture of the Day



Active Galaxy Centaurus A

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#105283 by @ 11.01.2008 00:00 - nach oben -
Active Galaxy Centaurus A


Explanation:

A mere 11 million light-years away,
Centaurus A is a giant elliptical
galaxy - the closest active galaxy to Earth.

This remarkable
composite view of the galaxy
combines
image
data
from the x-ray (
Chandra),
optical(ESO), and
radio(VLA)
regimes.

Centaurus A's central region
is a jumble of gas, dust, and stars
in optical light,
but both radio and x-ray telescopes trace a
remarkable jet of
high-energy particles streaming from the galaxy's core.

The cosmic
particle accelerator's
power source is a
black
hole
with about 10 million times the mass of the
Sun coincident with the x-ray bright spot at the galaxy's center.

Blasting out from the active galactic nucleus toward the upper left,
the energetic jet extends about 13,000 light-years.

A shorter jet extends from the nucleus in the opposite direction.

Other x-ray bright spots
in
the field
are binary star systems with neutron stars or stellar mass
black holes.

Active galaxy Centaurus A is likely the result of a
merger with
a spiral galaxy some 100 million years ago.




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