Saturday, January 19, 2008

Look the the Skies

I need a break! When I get too depressed by the world I live in, I visit Chandra,
the wonderful website with images from the X-ray observatory. This is an image from the Centaurus A constellation. The website explains the image as one of the best examples of:

...the effects of an active supermassive black hole. Opposing jets of high-energy particles can be seen extending to the outer reaches of the galaxy, and numerous smaller black holes in binary star systems are also visible.

The image was made from an ultra-deep look at the galaxy Centaurus A, equivalent to more than seven days of continuous observations. Centaurus A is the nearest galaxy to Earth that contains a supermassive black hole actively powering a jet.

A prominent X-ray jet extending for 13,000 light years points to the upper left in the image, with a shorter "counterjet" aimed in the opposite direction. Astronomers think that such jets are important vehicles for transporting energy from the black hole to the much larger dimensions of a galaxy, and affecting the rate at which stars form there.

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