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Infrared and X-ray observations from two space telescopes have been combined to create a unique look at violent events within the giant galaxy Centaurus A. The observations strengthen the view that the galaxy may have been created by the cataclysmic collision of two older galaxies.
The infrared light was captured by the European Space Agency's Herschel Space Observatory, a mission with important NASA contributions. The X-ray observations were made by the European Space Agency's XMM-Newton space telescope.
Centaurus A is the closest giant elliptical galaxy to Earth, at a distance of around 12 million light-years. It stands out because it harbors a massive black hole at its core and emits intense blasts of radio waves.
Originally posted by Mkoll
I would imagine that for the inhabitants of the galaxies there some of them would get quite lucky with their solar system not getting too messed up by gravitic chaos and not getting flung into deep space whereas others get really unlucky and get pounded with rogue stars and wandering black holes and the occasional hypervelocity super-jupiter type objects. I can't imagine that would be fun for inhabited worlds though.
Centauras A, the closest 'radio galaxy' to Earth, shows one system that lies within it ingesting another. Experts now think Centaurus A was formed by a merger between two separate galaxies -- and this new image goes a long way to backing that theory, it is claimed. The dusty band at the centre of the newly-released image is thought to be the mangled remains of a spiral galaxy being ripped apart by a giant elliptical galaxy.And the phenomenon is set to be a feature of our skies for a while yet as it will take another couple of hundred million years for the stricken system to fully disappear. Centaurus A has a central black hole with a mass of about 100 million times that of the Sun. Astronomers believe that this vast black hole produces the system's abnormally strong radio frequencies, as well as its bright nucleus and jet features.