Discover the cosmos! Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe is featured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer.
2002 February 26
Explanation: Jets of streaming plasma expelled by the central black hole of a massive elliptical galaxy likely light up this composite image of 3C296. The jets emanating from NGC 5532 and are nearly a million light years long. Exactly how the central black hole expels the infalling matter is still unknown. After clearing the galaxy, however, the jets inflate large radio bubbles that could glow for millions of years. If excited by a passing front, radio bubbles can even light up again after a billion years. Visible light is depicted in the above image in blue, while radio waves are shown in red. The radio map was created with the Very Large Array of radio telescopes.
Authors & editors:
Jerry Bonnell (USRA)
NASA Technical Rep.: Jay Norris. Specific rights apply.
A service of: LHEA at NASA/ GSFC
& Michigan Tech. U.