A Dwarf with a Supermassive Black Hole


A dwarf starburst galaxy about 30 million light years from Earth.Henize 2-10 is a dwarf galaxy, and it is the first dwarf galaxy ever discovered to contain a supermassive black hole at its center. This was surprising because the black hole is about one quarter of the size of the one at the center of the Milky Way Galaxy. However, Henize 2-10 is only about1/1,000th the size of the Milky Way..

This image combines x-ray (Chandra), visible light (Hubble), and radio telescope (Very Large Array) views.

Image Credit: NASA / NRAO

Frankengalaxy


UGC 1382About 250 million light-years away in a neighborhood of our universe that astronomers had considered quiet and unremarkable, scientists have uncovered an enormous, bizarre galaxy possibly formed from the parts of other galaxies. In optical light (left), UGC 1382 appears to be a simple elliptical galaxy, but spiral arms appeared when astronomers incorporated ultraviolet and deep optical data (middle). Combining that with a view of low-density hydrogen gas (shown in green at right), revealeded that UGC 1382 is gigantic.

It turns out that UGC 1382, a galaxy that had originally been thought to be old, small and typical is 10 times bigger than previously thought and, unlike most galaxies, its insides are younger than its outsides, almost as if it had been built using spare parts. It’s a rotating disk of low-density gas where stars don’t form quickly because the gas is so spread out. UGC 1382 is about 718,000 light-years across, more than seven times wider than the Milky Way, making it one of the three largest isolated disk galaxies ever discovered.

Image Credit: NASA / SDSS / NRAO

Galactic Sharing


Whirlpool in radioThis composite image of the Whirlpool Galaxy and it’s nearby companion galaxy overlays radio astronomy data from the Very Large Array with optical data.  The image in white shows how the galaxies appear to optical telescopes: one giant spiral galaxy with a smaller one hanging off an arm. The VLA sees a much bigger picture. The blue overlay reveals the the cast-off gases that were once in the outer spiral arms of these galaxies which have been pulled apart as the smaller galaxy has moved passed the larger one.

Image Credit: NRAO

More Than Meets the Eye


Whirlpool in radioThis composite image of the Whirlpool Galaxy and it’s nearby companion galaxy overlays radio astronomy data from the Very Large Array with optical data.  The image in white shows how the galaxies appear to optical telescopes: one giant spiral galaxy with a smaller one hanging off an arm. The VLA sees a much bigger picture. The blue overlay reveals the the cast-off gases that were once in the outer spiral arms of these galaxies which have been pulled apart as the smaller galaxy has moved passed the larger one.

Image Credit: NRAO

Frankengalaxy


UGC 1382About 250 million light-years away in a neighborhood of our universe that astronomers had considered quiet and unremarkable, scientists have uncovered an enormous, bizarre galaxy possibly formed from the parts of other galaxies. In optical light (left), UGC 1382 appears to be a simple elliptical galaxy, but spiral arms appeared when astronomers incorporated ultraviolet and deep optical data (middle). Combining that with a view of low-density hydrogen gas (shown in green at right), revealeded that UGC 1382 is gigantic.

It turns out that UGC 1382, a galaxy that had originally been thought to be old, small and typical is 10 times bigger than previously thought and, unlike most galaxies, its insides are younger than its outsides, almost as if it had been built using spare parts. It’s a rotating disk of low-density gas where stars don’t form quickly because the gas is so spread out. UGC 1382 is about 718,000 light-years across, more than seven times wider than the Milky Way, making it one of the three largest isolated disk galaxies ever discovered.

Image Credit: NASA / SDSS / NRAO

Fornax A


Fornaxgiant_radioFornax A is a galaxy with a very active black hole in its core. That black hole is send out huge jets of radio waves. The white glow in the center of this picture is the visible galaxy NGC 1316. There’s another, smaller galaxy just above it. These two galaxies are merging, and as gas and dust are stripped out of the small galaxy and poured into the center of NGC 1316. The huge radio lobes (shown as orange blobs in this multi-wavelength image) to either side of this merger are signs that a black hole is being fed more than it can handle and spinning some of the material out into intergalactic space.

Image Credit: NRAO

More Than Meets the Eye


Whirlpool in radioThis composite image of the Whirlpool Galaxy and it’s nearby companion galaxy overlays radio astronomy data from the Very Large Array with optical data.  The image in white shows how the galaxies appear to optical telescopes: one giant spiral galaxy with a smaller one hanging off an arm. The VLA sees a much bigger picture. The blue overlay reveals the the cast-off gases that were once in the outer spiral arms of these galaxies which have been pulled apart as the smaller galaxy has moved passed the larger one.

Image Credit: NRAO

Old Lace


M33radio_opt_largeThis combined image of radio and visible light observations of the faint galaxy known as M33 looks like lace hanging in the sky. Also known as the Triangulum Galaxy, it is part of the Local Group of galaxies which includes the Andromeda Galaxy and the Milky Way. M33 is over thirty thousand light years across and more than two million light years away. The optical data in this image (mostly white) show the many stars within the galaxy as well as reddish star forming regions that are filled with hot hydrogen gas. The radio data (colored pink) from the Very Large Array (VLA) reveal the cooler hydrogen gas in the galaxy, gas which cannot be seen with an optical telescope. Mergedr, the radio and optical images show a more comprehensive view of star formation in this galaxy.

Image Credit: NRAO

Saturn on the Radio


Saturn in RadioThis is Saturn, as seen by the Very Large Array (VLA) radio telescope. The bright disk of the planet gradually fades toward the edge, an effect called limb darkening. It’s caused by the gradual cooling moving outward in Saturn’s atmosphere. The rings are seen as emitters of energy outside the planet’s disk, but in front of the planet they absorb the radiation from the bright disk behind and appear as a dark band. That’s in contrast to their appearance in visible light where they reflect the incident sunlight. At radio wavelengths sunlight is much fainter, and we see the actual radio emissions from Saturn.

Image Credit: NRAO

Smith’s Cloud is Coming


SmithsCloudHitsdiagram_largeA giant cloud of hydrogen gas is heading for a collision with our Milky Way Galaxy, and when it hits, it may set off a spectacular burst of stellar fireworks. The cloud, called Smith’s Cloud after the astronomer who discovered it, is 11,000 light-years long and 2,500 light-years wide and has enough hydrogen to make a million or so stars the size of the Sun. It’s only 8,000 light-years from our Galaxy’s disk and coming in at about 250 km/s. Don’t panic! It will hit 30,000 light years away from Earth—about 40 million years from now.

Image Credit: NRAO