Home > Astronomy, Galaxies, Observatories & Facilities > ALMA Turns Its Eyes To Centaurus A

ALMA Turns Its Eyes To Centaurus A


Centaurus A is a massive elliptical radio galaxy — a galaxy which emits strong radio waves — and is the most prominent, as well as by far the nearest, radio galaxy in the sky. Centaurus A has therefore been observed with many different telescopes. Its very luminous centre hosts a supermassive black hole with a mass of about 100 million times that of the Sun.

In visible light, a characteristic feature of the galaxy is the dark band that obscures its centre . This dust lane harbours large amounts of gas, dust and young stars. These features, together with the strong radio emission, are evidence that Centaurus A is the result of a collision between a giant elliptical galaxy, and a smaller spiral galaxy whose remains form the dusty band.

To see through the obscuring dust in the central band, astronomers need to observe using longer wavelengths of light. This new image of Centaurus A combines observations at wavelengths around one millimetre, made with ALMA, and observations in near-infrared light. It thus provides a clear view through the dust towards the galaxy’s luminous centre.

Full Story:http://www.eso.org/public/news/eso1222/

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