Centaurus A radio galaxy. Enhanced optical image of the active galaxy Centaurus A (NGC 5128) in the constellation Centaurus. This elliptical galaxy is surrounded by a ring of dust and gas, seen as a dark band crossing the galaxy. At radio wavelen- gths, two enormous lobes are visible extending out at right angles to the dust lane. At the galaxy's centre lies a cluster of enormous hot stars, and, it is thought, a massive black hole. Centaurus A is 16 million light years away, and is the nearest active galaxy to Earth. This image was produced by a CCD (charge-coupled device) camera, which stores images electronically rather than on film.
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