Why does this galaxy emit such spectacular jets?
No one is sure, but it is likely related to an active supermassive black hole at its center.
The galaxy at the
Hercules A, appears to be a relatively normal
elliptical galaxy in visible light.
When imaged in
radio waves, however, tremendous
jets over one million light years long appear.
Detailed analyses indicate that the central galaxy, also known as
is actually over 1,000 times more massive than our Milky Way Galaxy,
and the central black hole is nearly 1,000 times more massive than the
black hole at our
Milky Way's center.
is a visible light image obtained by the Earth-orbiting
Hubble Space Telescope
superposed with a radio image taken by the recently upgraded
Very Large Array (VLA) of radio telescopes in
The physics that creates
the jets remains a topic of
research with a likely energy source being infalling matter
swirling toward the central
S. Baum &
R. Perley and
(NRAO/AUI/NSF), and the
Hubble Heritage Team