Cosmic Collision Likely Spawned Massive Nearby Galaxy
Date: 06 April 2012 Time: 03:58 PM ET
|The peculiar galaxy Centaurus A in far-infrared (red and
orange) and X-ray (blue/cyan/purple) light. Inner structural features
seen in this image
are helping scientists understand the mechanisms and interactions
within the galaxy, as are the jets seen extending thousands of
light-years from the black hole believed to be at its heart.
CREDIT: Far-infrared: ESA/Herschel/PACS/SPIRE/C.D. Wilson, MacMaster University, Canada; X-ray: ESA/XMM-Newton/EPIC
Previous images in visible light have hinted at a complex inner structure in Centaurus A, a giant elliptical galaxy found about 12 million light-years from Earth. The new views — captured in infrared and X-ray wavelengths by the European Space Agency's Herschel and XMM-Newton space observatories, respectively — map out that structure in greater detail and strengthen theories about its violent origins, researchers said.
Herschel was able to peer through Centaurus A's central band of obscuring dust. The telescope's images reveal the flattened inner disk of a spiral galaxy whose shape is probably due to a merger with an elliptical galaxy long ago, researchers said.
Glenn A. Walsh, Project Director,
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