Constellations :: Home to Wonder

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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, half-horse creature.
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.
Cena X-ray
X-rays from
NASA's Chandra

Cena Optical
Optical data
from NASA's Hubble

Cena Radio
Radio Data
from VLA
Cas A
Cats Eye
Crab Nebula