Radio/X-ray image of Cen A Jet
Credit: X-ray: NASA/CXC/Bristol U./M. Hardcastle et al.; Radio: NRAO/VLA/Bristol U./M. Hardcastle

Cosmic Super Collider

Jets emitted from the centers of certain active galaxies are some of the most spectacular phenomena in the Universe. These jets can stretch for millions of lightyears into space, and remain highly collimated over that immense distance. The enormous energy of these jets - matter in them flies out at half the speed of light, or more - must be produced by a compact, powerful engine, like a black hole. Galactic jets are often termed "radio jets" since they were first discovered by their radio emission, but they emit at other wavelengths as well. The image above is a composite image of the jet from the famous radio galaxy Centaurus A. In the image, radio emission (imaged by the VLA) from the jet is shown in red, while X-ray emission (imaged by the Chandra X-ray Observatory) is shown in blue. The X-ray emission primarily arises from the end of the jet, where the jet crashes into the intergalactic medium, converting the kinetic energy of the jet into X-ray emitting temperatures.

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Each week the HEASARC brings you new, exciting and beautiful images from X-ray and Gamma ray astronomy. Check back each week and be sure to check out the HEAPOW archive!

Page Author: Dr. Michael F. Corcoran
Last modified April 28, 2003