NASA Astronomy Picture of the Day 3 May 2023: The stunning Centaurus A Galaxy | Tech News

NASA Astronomy Picture of the Day 3 May 2023: The stunning Centaurus A Galaxy

Today’s NASA Astronomy Picture of the Day is the elliptical galaxy NGC 5128, also known as Centaurus A, which is the closest active galaxy to Earth.

By: HT TECH
| Updated on: May 03 2023, 11:42 IST
Best NASA Astronomy Pictures of the Week: Geomagnetic storms, Tarantula Nebula and more
Centaurus A
1/5 The Medulla Nebula Supernova Remnant (April 24) - It is CTB-1, also known as the Medulla Nebula Supernova Remnant. It is a rare cosmic bubble and the remnant of an ancient supernova explosion that occurred about 10000 years ago, according to NASA. The Medulla Nebula Supernova Remnant is given the name because of its brain-like shape and is located towards the constellation of Cassiopeia. (NASA/Kimberly Sibbald)
Centaurus A
2/5 Geomagnetic Storm sparks Auroras (April 25) - Stunning auroras sparked by the G4-class geomagnetic storm were captured from Caceres, Spain. But it wasn’t just Spain where the auroras were visible. According to a report by spaceweather.com, the stunning streaks of light were seen lighting up the sky in Europe, in several parts of the U.S., New Zealand and as far as south of France.  (NASA/Landon Moeller)
Centaurus A
3/5 Full Moon shot through Arc de Triomphe (April 26) - This captured image is a fascinating snapshot of the full Moon through the Arc de Triomphe in Paris, France. The amount of Moon we see changes over the month, which is known as the lunar phases, and there are 8 in total - New Moon, waxing crescent, first quarter, waxing gibbous, full Moon, waning gibbous, third quarter and waning crescent Moon. (Stefano Zanarello/NASA)
Centaurus A
4/5 The fascinating Tarantula Nebula (April 27) - is the 30 Doradus, also known as the Tarantula Nebula, located about 160,000 light-years away towards the constellation of Dorado. The 30 Doradus is also called the Tarantula Nebula because of its glowing filaments which resemble spider legs, according to NASA. The Nebula is special as it can be seen in the Southern sky with the naked eye. It resembles a large milky patch of stars when viewed from Earth. (NASA/SuperBIT)
Centaurus A
5/5 Runaway star Alpha Camelopardalis (April 28) - It is a snapshot of Alpha Camelopardalis, a runaway star located about 4,000 light-years away in the long-necked constellation Camelopardalis. According to NASA, this star is moving through space at a rapid speed of about 60 kilometers per second. In fact, this star is about 25-30 times the size of our Sun and over 500,000 times brighter! NASA has also revealed that Alpha Camelopardalis is 5 times hotter than our Sun, with a temperature of about 30,000 Kelvin. (NASA/Andre Vilhena)
Centaurus A
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Centaurus A is located about 11 million light-years away towards the constellation of Centaurus. (NASA/Marco Lorenzi/Angus Lau/Tommy Tse)

Stars, which illuminate the darkness of space, are formed in a giant cloud of dust and gas in space, known as a Nebula. The age, distribution, and composition of the stars in a galaxy trace the history, dynamics, and evolution of that galaxy. According to NASA, galaxies exist in huge groups which are closely connected by gravity. Most galaxies exist in groups or clusters with dozens or hundreds of members, and these cluster galaxies are all in constant motion, pulled and twisted by their neighbour's gravity.

Today's NASA Astronomy Picture of the Day is the elliptical galaxy NGC 5128, also known as Centaurus A. This peculiar galaxy is located about 11 million light-years away towards the constellation of Centaurus and spans about 60,000 light-years across. According to NASA, Centaurus A is the closest active galaxy to Earth and is the result of the collision of two galaxies which caused star clusters and dark dust lanes to jumble up. It was discovered by Scottish astronomer James Dunlop in 1826 at Parramatta, in New South Wales, Australia.

The picture was captured by astrophotographers Marco Lorenzi, Angus Lau & Tommy Tse.

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Description of the picture

Galaxies are fascinating. In galaxies, gravity alone holds together massive collections of stars, dust, interstellar gas, stellar remnants and dark matter. Pictured is NGC 5128, better known as Centaurus A. Cen A is the fifth brightest galaxy on the sky and is located at a distance of about 12 million light years from Earth. The warped shape of Cen A is the result of a merger between an elliptical and a spiral galaxy. Its active galactic nucleus harbors a supermassive black hole that is about 55 million times more massive than our Sun.

This central black hole ejects a fast jet visible in both radio and X-ray light. Filaments of the jet are visible in red in the upper left. New observations by the Event Horizon Telescope have revealed a brightening of the jet only towards its edges -- but for reasons that are currently unknown and an active topic of research.

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First Published Date: 03 May, 11:41 IST
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