Images by Date
Images by Category
Solar System
Stars
White Dwarfs
Supernovas
Neutron Stars
Black Holes
Milky Way Galaxy
Normal Galaxies
Quasars
Galaxy Clusters
Cosmology/Deep Field
Miscellaneous
Images by Interest
Space Scoop for Kids
Multiwavelength
Sky Map
Constellations
3D Wall
Photo Blog
Top Rated Images
Image Handouts
Desktops
High Res Prints
Fits Files
Image Tutorials
Photo Album Tutorial
False Color
Cosmic Distance
Look-Back Time
Scale & Distance
Angular Measurement
Images & Processing
AVM/Metadata
Getting Hard Copies
Image Use Policy
Web Shortcuts
Chandra Blog
RSS Feed
Chandra Mobile
Chronicle
Email Newsletter
News & Noteworthy
Image Use Policy
Questions & Answers
Glossary of Terms
Download Guide
Get Adobe Reader
More Information
Quasars & Active Galaxies
X-ray Astronomy Field Guide
Quasars & Active Galaxies
Questions and Answers
Quasars & Active Galaxies
Chandra Images
Quasars & Active Galaxies
Related Podcasts
Tour of RX J1131-1231
Download Image

More Information

More Images
Illustration of Cygnus A
(Credit: NASA/CXC/K.Kowal)


Related Images
3c442a
3c442a
(29 Mar 07)
M87
M87
(05 Oct 06)
Cygnus A:
Catching a Galactic Football


Cygnus A
Credit: NASA/UMD/A.Wilson et al.

This Chandra image shows a giant football-shaped cavity (yellow/light orange inner region) within X-ray emitting hot gas surrounding the galaxy Cygnus A. The cavity in the hot gas has been created by two powerful jets emitted from the central black hole region in the nucleus of Cygnus A. Hot gas is steadily being piled up around the cavity as it continuously expands, creating a bright rim of X-ray emission (bright orange outer area).

Cygnus A is not alone in its galactic neighborhood, but is a member of a large cluster containing many galaxies. Extremely hot (tens of millions of degrees Celsius) gas is spread between the galaxies. Although it has a very low density, this gas provides enough resistance to slow down the outward advancement of the particle jets from Cygnus A. The jets themselves terminate in radio and X-ray emitting "hot spots" some 300,000 light years from the center of the galaxy. Scientists believe that fast atomic particles and magnetic fields from the jets spill out into the region, providing pressure that continuously inflates the cavity.

Fast Facts for Cygnus A:
Credit  NASA/UMD/A.Wilson et al.
Scale  Image is 3.3 x 2 arcmin across.
Category  Quasars & Active Galaxies
Coordinates (J2000)  RA 19h 59m 28.30s | Dec +40 44' 02.00
Constellation  Cygnus
Observation Dates  May 21, 2000
Observation Time  9 hours
Obs. IDs  360
Instrument  ACIS
Distance Estimate  700 million light years
Release Date  November 06, 2000