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Centaurus A (NGC 5128): X Ray - Optical Comparison
X RAY: Chandra X Ray Observatory/High Resolution Camera image (Credit: NASA/CXC/SAO) OPTICAL: Cerro Tololo InterAmerican Observatory 4-meter Blanco telescope image (Credit: AURA/NOAO/NSF))

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Centaurus A:
Extended X-Ray Jet in Nearby Galaxy Reveals Energy Source


Centaurus A
Credit: NASA/CXC/SAO

At a distance of 11 million light years, Centaurus A or NGC 5128, is the nearest example of a type of galaxy called an active galaxy. It is a large elliptically shaped galaxy that shows evidence of repeated explosions, probably from a supermassive black hole in the center of the galaxy. Radio and X-ray images of the galaxy show a jet of high-energy particles blasting out from the center. Because of its unusual nature and proximity, it is one of the most extensively studied galaxies in the southern hemisphere.

Multi-wavelength Images: (*Images not to scale)
X-ray Centaurus A - X-ray NASA/CXC/SAO
Jpg (138 k)
Tiff (3.6 M)
PS (3.4 M)
Optical Centaurus A - optical AURA/NOAO/NSF
Jpg (74 k)
Tiff (3.8 MB)
PS (3.4 MB)
Infrared Centaurus A- infrared 2MASS
Jpg (28 k)
Radio
Centaurus A- radio NRAO/AUI
Jpg (75 k)

Fast Facts for Centaurus A:
Credit  NASA/CXC/SAO
Scale  Image is 15 arcmin across.
Category  Quasars & Active Galaxies
Coordinates (J2000)  RA 13h 25m 28s | Dec -43 01' 11
Constellation  Centaurus
Observation Dates  September 10, 1999
Observation Time  6 hours
Obs. IDs  1253
Color Code  Intensity
Instrument  HRC
Also Known As Cen A, NGC 5128
Distance Estimate  11 million light years
Release Date  October 25, 1999