Hercules A, Cosmic Bow Tie

herca_vlahstNo one is sure why Hercules A, the galaxy at the center of this picture is throwing of such huge jets of material, but it is likely related to an active supermassive black hole at its center. The galaxy appears to be a relatively normal elliptical galaxy in visible light. When observed by a radio telescope, however, tremendous plasma jets over one million light years long are visible. Analysis indicates that the central galaxy (aka 3C 348) is actually over 1,000 times more massive than our Milky Way Galaxy, and its central black hole is nearly 1,000 times more massive than the black hole at our Milky Way. This image was assembled by superimposing data from the Very Large Array (VLA) of radio telescopes in New Mexico with an optical image from the Hubble Space Telescope. The best guess for the energy source for the jets is matter swirling toward the galaxy’s central black hole.

Image Credit: NASA

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  1. Pingback: A ” Supermassive Black Hole ” « YouViewed/Editorial

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