This face-on galaxy NGC 1097 lies 45 million light-years away from Earth in the southern constellation of Fornax (The Furnace). NGC 1097 is a Seyfert galaxy. A supermassive black hole 100 million times the mass of our sun lurks at the very center of the galaxy and is gradually sucking in the matter around it. The area immediately around the black hole shines powerfully with radiation coming from the material falling in.
The ring surrounding the black hole is bursting with new star formation due to an inflow of material toward the central bar of the galaxy. The star-forming regions glow brightly because of emissions from clouds of ionized hydrogen. The ring is around 5000 light-years across, although the spiral arms of the galaxy extend tens of thousands of light-years beyond it.
Image Credit: NASA