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Galaxy NGC 4696 a cosmic question mark

NGC 4696 as seen by Hubble's Advanced Camera for Surveys. Photo by ESA/Hubble/NASA.

PARIS (BNS): A new picture taken by Hubble's Advanced Camera for surveys shows an unusual looking galaxy NGC 4696 - the largest galaxy in the Centaurus Cluster - curling around itself like a question mark.

NGC 4696 seen in the optical and near-infrared wavelengths by Hubble gives a beautiful and dramatic view of the galaxy. The huge dust lane, around 30 000 light-years across, that sweeps across the face of the galaxy makes NGC 4696 look different from most other elliptical galaxies.

Viewed at certain wavelengths, strange thin filaments of ionised hydrogen are visible within it giving a subtle marbling effect across the galaxy’s bright centre. But much of its inner turmoil is hidden from view and things are as serene as they seem.

At the heart of the galaxy, a supermassive black hole is blowing out jets of matter at nearly the speed of light. When viewed in X-ray wavelengths with NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory, huge voids within the galaxy become visible, telltale signs of these jets’ enormous power.

The Hubble Space Telescope is a project of international cooperation between ESA and NASA.


Hubble  Galaxy  

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