Image of the Day: Awesome Beauty of a Rare Radio Galaxy


This radio-optical composite image of giant elliptical galaxy NGC 1316 about 70 million light-years away in the constellation Fornax, shows the galaxy (center) and a smaller companion galaxy being cannibalized by the radio monster. Gas heated to 10 million degrees by the galaxy’s collision with a smaller neighbor emits the radio waves you can see as the false-color “lobes” in the image. These merger events may have fueled the central supermassive black hole with gas, causing the galaxy to become a radio galaxy. The object is one of four known radio galaxies in the Universe.

Image credit:Fomalont et al., NRAO/AUI/NSF


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