Visible and infrared views of giant, cannibal galaxy Centaurus A

Blend from a visible image of Centaurus A, as seen with the Wide-Field Imager on the MPG/ESO 2.2-metre telescope, and a near-infared view obtained with the SOFI instrument on ESO’s New Technology Telescope, also at La Silla. Centaurus A (NGC 5128) is the nearest giant, elliptical galaxy, at a distance of about 12 million light-years. Between 200 and 700 million years ago, this galaxy is believed to have consumed a smaller spiral, gas-rich galaxy — the contents of which appear to be churning inside Centaurus A’s core, triggering new generations of star birth. The SOFI image was specially processed to look through the dust, providing a clear view of the centre and revealing a previously unknown ring of stars and clusters. The field of view is about 4 x 4 arcminutes.


ESO/Y. Beletsky

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Date de publication:20 novembre 2009
Communiqués de presse en rapport:eso0944
Durée:20 s
Frame rate:30 fps

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