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CSIRO astronomers reveal a ‘blue whale of space’

8 Jul 2009, 07:48 UTC
CSIRO astronomers reveal a ‘blue whale of space’
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CSIRO astronomers have revealed the hidden face of an enormous galaxy called Centaurus A, which emits a radio glow covering an area 200 times bigger than the full Moon.

The galaxy’s radio waves have been painstakingly transformed into a highly detailed image, which is being unveiled to the public for the first time.
A composite image showing the size of the radio glow from the galaxy Centaurus A in comparison to the full Moon.
Centaurus A lies 14 million light-years away, in the southern constellation Centaurus, and houses a monster black hole 50 million times the mass of the Sun.
The galaxy’s black hole generates jets of radio-emitting particles that billow millions of light years out into space.
The spectacular sight is invisible to the naked eye.
“If your eyes could see radio waves you would look up in the sky and see the radio glow from this galaxy covering an area 200 times bigger than the full Moon,” said the lead scientist for the project, Dr Ilana Feain of CSIRO’s Australia Telescope National Facility (ATNF).
“Only a small percentage of galaxies are of this kind. They’re like the blue whales of space – huge and rare.”
Seen at radio ...

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