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Chandra X-ray
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3C321: A radio galaxy 1.4 billion light years from Earth.
(Credit: X-ray: NASA/CXC/CfA/D.Evans et al.; Optical/UV: NASA/STScI; Radio: NSF/VLA/CfA/D.Evans et al., STFC/JBO/MERLIN )

Caption: 3C321 is a so-called radio galaxy because it belongs to a class of galaxies known to have strong radio emission. Many radio galaxies have powerful jets blasting out of their cores. When astronomers looked at this object, however, they saw something very unusual. They found that the jet from 3C321 appears to be striking another galaxy only about 21,000 light years away. At this distance, less than that between the Earth and the center of the Milky Way, the galaxy being blasted could be experiencing significant disruptions. By combining data from Chandra, Hubble, and the Very Large Array, astronomers are examining the effects of this violent eruption from one galaxy to another.

Scale: Image is 27 x 19 arcsec high.

Chandra X-ray Observatory ACIS Image

CXC operated for NASA by the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory