Friday, December 31, 2010

Behemoth Galaxy NGC 1275 portrayed by Hubble with the ACS

Behemoth Galaxy NGC 1275 portrayed by Hubble with the ACS
Click on the image for full resolution

The behemoth galaxy NGC 1275, also known as Perseus A, lies at the centre of the Perseus cluster of galaxies. NGC 1275 is an active galaxy well-known for its radio source (Perseus A) and is a strong emitter of X-rays due to the presence of the supermassive black hole in its centre. Hubble data from the Advanced Camera for Surveys covers visible-light wavelengths and is shown in the red, green and blue.
This Hubble Space Telescope image of galaxy NGC 1275 reveals the fine, thread-like filamentary structures in the gas surrounding the galaxy. The red filaments are composed of cool gas being suspended by a magnetic field, and are surrounded by the 100-million-degree Fahrenheit hot gas in the center of the Perseus galaxy cluster.
The filaments are dramatic markers of the feedback process through which energy is transferred from the central massive black hole to the surrounding gas. The filaments originate when cool gas is transported from the center of the galaxy by radio bubbles that rise in the hot interstellar gas.
At a distance of 230 million light-years, NGC 1275 is one of the closest giant elliptical galaxies.
The galaxy was photographed in July and August 2006 with Hubble's Advanced Camera for Surveys.
Credit: NASA, ESA, and the Hubble Heritage (STScI/AURA)-ESA/Hubble Collaboration
Acknowledgment: A. Fabian (Institute of Astronomy, University of Cambridge, UK)
Image enhancement: Jean-Baptiste Faure

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