WHO: Centaurus A, also known as NGC 5128, is a
galaxy with a supermassive black hole at its core.
WHAT: The giant black hole in Centaurus A is responsible
for the huge jet of material blasting out of the
galaxy, which is seen in X-rays.
WHERE: Centaurus A is located about 14 million light
years from Earth. It is found in the constellation that
shares its name, representing a mythical half-man,
WHEN: The dark bands across the center of the galaxy
were likely created when Centaurus A merged with
another galaxy perhaps 100 million years ago. The jet
probably occurred much more recently.
HOW: These jets are thought to be powered by material
falling toward a black hole, combined with the effects
of strong magnetic fields and rapid rotation.
WHY: Astronomers think that these jets are responsible
for transporting vast amounts of energy from
the vicinity of a black hole to the rest of the galaxy
and beyond. This process affects the rate at which
stars form, the black hole grows, and ultimately how
the galaxy evolves.
from NASA's Hubble