Cen A/Chandra
Credit: NASA/CXC/SAO/M.Karovska et al.

The Tell-Tale Arc

Centaurus A is a strange galaxy. At a distance of 11 million lightyears the galaxy looks like a big ball of stars bisected by a dark lane of dust. Astronomers have detected a radio jet emanating from a small spiral galaxy hidden inside Cen A. A new X-ray view of the galaxy has been provided by the Chandra X-ray observatory's High Resolution Camera. The HRC image (above) shows the presence of extremely high temperature gas in the radio jet; this material is thought to be ejected by a supermassive black hole fed by the material in the inner spiral. The HRC image also shows bright arcs of X-ray emission surrounding the galaxy. These arcs may have been the result of a titanic explosion in Cen A about 10 million years ago.

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Page Author: Dr. Michael F. Corcoran
Last modified August 10, 2002