Centaurus Cluster

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Chandra X-ray
Observatory Center
Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics
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Centaurus Cluster: A cluster of galaxies about 170 million light years from Earth, located in the constellation Centaurus.
(Credit: NASA/IoA/J. Sanders & A. Fabian)

Caption: The Chandra image of the Centaurus galaxy cluster shows a long plume-like feature resembling a twisted sheet. The plume is some 70,000 light years in length and has a temperature of about 10 million degrees Celsius. It is several million degrees cooler than the hot gas around it, as seen in this temperature-coded image in which the sequence red, yellow, green, blue indicates increasing temperatures. The plume of relatively cool gas contains a mass comparable to 1 billion suns and may have been produced by the movement of the central galaxy through the cluster.

Scale: Image is 3 arcmin on a side.

Chandra X-ray Observatory ACIS Image

CXC operated for NASA by the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory