A New View of the Galaxy Centaurus A by Hubble

Hubble has used its wide field camera 3 to give the most detailed view of this Galaxy ever. The image shows detail that has never been seen before in the dusty portion of the Galaxy.

Hubble Silently Working

Hubble Silently Working

Centaurus A is also known as NGC 5128 and is a relatively nearby galaxy in astronomical terms. It is close and it is bright which makes it a very good target for astronomers in the southern hemisphere. Just a pair of binoculars will give good images but larger telescopes reveal details such as dusty distinctive lanes. Hubble is the ultimate viewing platform though as it can make out extreme detail and also use the ultraviolet wavelengths normally obscured by the atmosphere.

Hubble's Image of Centaurus A

Hubble's Image of Centaurus A

The image which is a composite image shows ultraviolet light from the young stars and near infrared light which allows us to see some of the detail which would be obscured by the dust.

The dark dust lane that crosses the Galaxy shows the relative lack of Starlight that is blocked from reaching us. The warped shape of its disc of gas and dust which is outside the image suggests that at some point Centaurus A merged with another galaxy. Hydrogen gas from this possible collision coalesced and produced a region that produced intense areas of star formation as shown by the red patches in the image.

Centaurus A From the European 'Southern Observatory

Centaurus A From the European 'Southern Observatory

There is a highly active supermassive black hole at the centre and Jets release large amounts of radio and x-ray radiation although they are not shown on the image as the Hubble was instructed to study the optical, ultraviolet and infrared wavelengths.

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