Core of spiral galaxy M51

Core of spiral galaxy M51

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This image is part of the feature Black Holes


Caption: Black hole evidence. Optical image of the core of the Whirlpool galaxy M51 (NGC 5194) taken with the Wide Field Planetary Camera onboard the Hubble Space Telescope. It shows, for the first time, an immense ring of dust and cold gas (the x-shaped dark lanes at centre), which is thought to surround and hide a giant black hole of about 1 million solar masses in the centre of the galaxy. The ring forms an accretion disc of gas, about 100 light years across, falling towards the black hole. The two brighter areas perpendicular to the widest lane represent two jets of particles accelerated by the black hole.

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Keywords: accretion disc, astronomy, black hole, core, cosmology, galactic, galaxy, hubble image, m51, m51 core, ngc 5194, science, spiral galaxy, spiral galaxy core, whirlpool galaxy

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