The Evolving Universe

Smithsonian Institution

Centaurus A Galaxy • NGC 5128

NGC5128 image

Credit: NASA/CFX/CfA,MPiFR/ESO/APEX

Observers: Ralph Kraft,Axel Weiss

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One of the most luminous and massive galaxies known, Centaurus A is a strong source of both radio and X-ray radiation. The supermassive black hole at its center is highly active, ejecting 13,000-light-year-long jets of superheated gas (blue) and cooler matter (orange) from the disk of the galaxy. The material in the jets travels about 9 million km per minute - half the speed of light.

  • Distance from Earth: 12 million light years
  • Size: 260,000 light years
  • Telescope: Chandra/APEX/ESO-2.2
  • Light: X-ray (blue), IR-Radio (orange), Visible (white, brown)