|A fantastic jumble of young blue star clusters,
gigantic glowing gas clouds, and imposing dark
surrounds the central region of the active galaxy Centaurus A.
This image from the Hubble Space Telescope has been processed to present a natural color picture
of this cosmic maelstrom.
Infrared images from the Hubble have also shown that hidden
at the center
of this activity are what seem to be disks of matter spiraling into
a black hole
with a billion times the mass of the Sun.
Centaurus A itself is apparently the result of a
collision of two galaxies
and the left over debris is steadily being consumed by the
Astronomers believe that such
black hole central engines generate the
radio, X-ray, and gamma-ray energy radiated by Centaurus A
and other active galaxies.
But for an active galaxy Centaurus A is close,
a mere 10 million
light-years away, and is a relatively convenient laboratory for
exploring these powerful sources of energy.
ESA, and the