May 25, 2013
This Is What It Looks Like When a Black Hole Destroys a Galaxy
Posted on May 22, 2011
And you think you’ve got problems. Take a look at nearby galaxy Centaurus A, which is in a losing battle with a black hole nearly 55 million times bigger (in terms of mass) than our sun. As it dies, its guts are being sprayed out in a trail of carnage 2 million light-years long, and NASA has the intergalactic snuff film to prove it.—PZS
Update: A couple of commenters below have challenged the premise of this post. As sometimes happens when mere bloggers report on scientific discovery, we may have gotten our facts wrong (namely that the black hole in question is in fact destroying the galaxy in question). We’re looking into it. Thanks to the commenters for pointing this out.
NASA via Engadget:
Text and images from NASA:
Left: The giant elliptical galaxy NGC 5128 is the radio source known as Centaurus A. Vast radio-emitting lobes (shown as orange in this optical/radio composite) extend nearly a million light-years from the galaxy. Credit: Capella Observatory (optical), with radio data from Ilana Feain, Tim Cornwell, and Ron Ekers (CSIRO/ATNF), R. Morganti (ASTRON), and N. Junkes (MPIfR). Right: The radio image from the TANAMI project provides the sharpest-ever view of a supermassive black hole’s jets. This view reveals the inner 4.16 light-years of the jet and counterjet, a span less than the distance between our sun and the nearest star. The image resolves details as small as 15 light-days across. Undetected between the jets is the galaxy’s 55-million-solar-mass black hole. Credit: NASA/TANAMI/Müller et al.
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