Centaurus A Arcs

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Chandra X-ray
Observatory Center
Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics
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Centaurus A: An active galaxy located about 11 million light years from Earth in the constellation Centaurus.
(Credits: X-ray (NASA/CXC/M. Karovska et al.); Radio 21-cm image (NRAO/AUI/NSF/J.Van Gorkom/Schminovich et al.), Radio continuum image (NRAO/AUI/NSF/J.Condon et al.); Optical (Digitized Sky Survey U.K. Schmidt Image/STScI))

Caption:Chandra's image of this nearby active galaxy revealed two large arcs of multimillion degree Celsius gas in the outskirts of the galaxy. A composite image of the X-ray (blue), the radio (pink and green), and the optical (orange and yellow) presents a stunning tableau of a galaxy in turmoil. The arcs of hot, X-ray emitting gas appear to be part of a projected ring 25,000 light years in diameter. The size and location of the ring indicate that it may have been produced in a titanic explosion that occurred in the nucleus of the galaxy about ten million years ago.

Scale: Images are about 18 x 17 arcmin

Chandra X-ray Observatory HRC Image

CXC operated for NASA by the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory