Spectacular View of Peculiar Galaxy Centaurus A

The new image shows spectacular new view of a peculiar galaxy Centaurus A, which is a

sprawling elliptical galaxy located about 12 million light-years from Earth in the southern constellation of Centaurus (The Centaur). The peculiar galaxy emits strong radio emissions and is the most prominent radio galaxy in the sky, according to officials from the European Southern Observatory (ESO). Centaurus A‘s bright nucleus, powerful radio emissions, and jets may be produced by a supermassive central black hole that is 100 million times more massive than the sun, astronomers have said. As matter falls toward the black hole, the dense, central parts of the galaxy release huge amounts of energy. The new image of Centaurus A (NGC 5128), was produced by the MPG/ESO 2.2-meter telescope’s Wide Field Imager at ESO’s La Silla Observatory in Chile. The portrait reveals the elongated shape of the fainter, outer sections of the galaxy. The dreamy glow is created by hundreds of billions of cooler, older stars in the vicinity. But unlike most elliptical galaxies, Centaurus A has a broad patchy band of dark material at its heart that obscures the galactic center. According to ESO this dark region is full of gas, dust and young stars. At the upper right and lower left edges of the band, bright, young star clusters can be seen. Star-forming clouds of hydrogen, with their distinct red glow can also be distinguished. These intriguing features, and the strong radio signals from Centaurus A, strongly suggest that the galaxy is the result of a violent galaxy merger. As ESO officials said the dusty band is likely the remains of a spiral galaxy that is being ripped apart by the gravitational pull of a massive elliptical galaxy. Reddish filaments that stretch from the galaxy to the upper left corner of the photo are stellar nurseries that contain hot, newborn stars. The inner filaments above the left side of Centaurus A ‘s dusty band, are about 30,000 light-years from the galaxy’s nucleus. In the upper left corner of the image, the outer filaments are visible, which are even more distant, at approximately 65,000 light-years from the galaxy’s center.

source:www.space.com

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