What's the closest
galaxy to planet Earth?
That would be
only 11 million light-years distant.
Spanning over 60,000 light-years, the peculiar elliptical galaxy
is also known
as NGC 5128.
Forged in a
of two otherwise normal galaxies, Centaurus A's
fantastic jumble of young blue star clusters, pinkish star forming regions,
and imposing dark dust lanes are seen here in remarkable detail.
colorful galaxy portrait was recorded under clear Chilean skies
Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory.
Near the galaxy's center, left over
cosmic debris is steadily
being consumed by a central black hole with a billion times
the mass of the Sun.
As in other active galaxies, that process likely generates the radio,
X-ray, and gamma-ray
energy radiated by