Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Spectacular Hubble view of Centaurus A

Date:
June 17, 2011
Source:
ESA/Hubble Information Centre
Summary:
The NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope has produced a close-up view of the galaxy Centaurus A. Hubble's out-of-this-world location and world-class Wide Field Camera 3 instrument reveal a dramatic picture of a dynamic galaxy in flux.

Centaurus A, also known as NGC 5128, is well known for its dramatic dusty lanes of dark material. Hubble's new observations, using its most advanced instrument, the Wide Field Camera 3, are the most detailed ever made of this galaxy. They have been combined here in a multi-wavelength image which reveals never-before-seen detail in the dusty portion of the galaxy. As well as features in the visible spectrum, this composite shows ultraviolet light, which comes from young stars, and near-infrared light, which lets us glimpse some of the detail otherwise obscured by the dust.
Credit: NASA, ESA, and the Hubble Heritage (STScI/AURA)-ESA/Hubble Collaboration. Acknowledgment: R. O’Connell (University of Virginia) and the WFC3 Scientific Oversight Committee

The NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope has produced a close-up view of the galaxy Centaurus A. Hubble's out-of-this-world location and world-class Wide Field Camera 3 instrument reveal a dramatic picture of a dynamic galaxy in flux.

Related Articles


Centaurus A, also known as NGC 5128, is well known for its dramatic dusty lanes of dark material. Hubble's observations, using its most advanced instrument, the Wide Field Camera 3, are the most detailed ever made of this galaxy. They have been combined here in a multi-wavelength image that reveals never-before-seen detail in the dusty portion of the galaxy.

As well as features in the visible spectrum, this composite shows ultraviolet light from young stars, and near-infrared light, which lets us glimpse some of the detail otherwise obscured by the dust.

The dark dust lane that crosses Centaurus A does not show an absence of stars, but rather a relative lack of starlight, as the opaque clouds block the visible light from reaching us. Hubble's Wide Field Camera 3 has focussed on these dusty regions, which span from corner to corner in this image. Wider views from ground-based telescopes show this stripe crossing the entire galaxy.

Interesting features such as the warped shape of its disc of gas and dust (outside the view) hint that at some point in the past, Centaurus A collided and merged with another galaxy. The shockwaves of this event caused hydrogen gas to coalesce and sparked intense areas of star formation, as seen in its outlying regions and in red patches visible in this Hubble close-up.

The galaxy's compact nucleus contains a highly active supermassive black hole at its centre. Powerful relativistic jets release vast amounts of radio and X-ray radiation -- although these are invisible here as Hubble's instruments are designed to study optical, ultraviolet and infrared wavelengths.

At just over 11 million light-years distant, Centaurus A is relatively nearby in astronomical terms. However, it is not only close, it is also bright. This makes it a very attractive target for amateur astronomers in the southern hemisphere, where it is visible. Stargazers can see the galaxy through binoculars, while larger amateur telescopes begin to unveil the distinctive dusty lanes.

However it is only with the capabilities of the Hubble Space Telescope that many of the features in this image become visible: as well as providing unparalleled clarity and resolution, Hubble's position in orbit means that it can see ultraviolet wavelengths which are blocked by the atmosphere and so invisible from the ground.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by ESA/Hubble Information Centre. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

ESA/Hubble Information Centre. "Spectacular Hubble view of Centaurus A." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 17 June 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/06/110616092645.htm>.
ESA/Hubble Information Centre. (2011, June 17). Spectacular Hubble view of Centaurus A. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 21, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/06/110616092645.htm
ESA/Hubble Information Centre. "Spectacular Hubble view of Centaurus A." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/06/110616092645.htm (accessed December 21, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Space & Time News

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Spokesman: 'NORAD Ready to Track Santa'

Spokesman: 'NORAD Ready to Track Santa'

AP (Dec. 19, 2014) Pentagon spokesman Rear Adm. John Kirby said that NORAD is ready to track Santa Claus as he delivers gifts next week. Speaking tongue-in-cheek, he said if Santa drops anything off his sleigh, "we've got destroyers out there to pick them up." (Dec. 19) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
NASA's Planet-Finding Kepler Mission Isn't Over After All

NASA's Planet-Finding Kepler Mission Isn't Over After All

Newsy (Dec. 18, 2014) More than a year after NASA declared the Kepler spacecraft broken beyond repair, scientists have figured out how to continue getting useful data. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Rover Finds More Clues About Possible Life On Mars

Rover Finds More Clues About Possible Life On Mars

Newsy (Dec. 17, 2014) NASA's Curiosity rover detected methane on Mars and organic compounds on the surface, but it doesn't quite prove there was life ... yet. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Evidence of Life on Mars? NASA Rover Finds Methane, Organic Chemicals

Evidence of Life on Mars? NASA Rover Finds Methane, Organic Chemicals

Reuters - US Online Video (Dec. 16, 2014) NASA's Mars Curiosity rover finds methane in the Martian atmosphere and organic chemicals in the planet's soil, the latest hint that Mars was once suitable for microbial life. Linda So reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Space & Time

Matter & Energy

Computers & Math

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins