Centaurus A

11 million light-years

A dramatic image from NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory of the nearby galaxy Centaurus A provides one of the best views ever of the effects of an active supermassive black hole. A prominent jet is seen extending for 13,000 light years and points to the upper left in the image, with a shorter "counterjet" aimed in the opposite direction. Astronomers think that such jets are important vehicles for transporting energy from the black hole (bright dot at the center) to the much larger dimensions of a galaxy, affecting the rate at which stars form there.

Credit: NASA / CXC / CfA / R.Kraft et al.

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