One Big Black Hole
Centaurus A, a galaxy about 11 million light-years away, takes on the shape of a whirling dervish in this spectacular composite image of the raw power generated by the supermassive black hole at its core. Jets and lobes (orange) powered by the black hole, which is millions of times the mass of our sun, were imaged by the Atacama Pathfinder Experiment (APEX) telescope in Chile. X-rays (blue) were seen by the orbiting Chandra X-ray Observatory. Visible light data, from the Wide Field Imager on the Max-Planck/ESO 2.2-meter telescope, also in Chile, shows the dust lane in the galaxy, as well as background stars. The x-ray jet in the upper left extends for about 13,000 light-years from the black hole. Material in the jet is travelling at about half the speed of light. Enjoy a larger version.