ROYAL GREENWICH OBSERVATORY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY ROYAL GREENWICH OBSERVATORY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
False-colour optical photograph of the x-ray emitting barred spiral galaxy NGC 1365. In normal spiral galaxies, the spiral arms emerge directly from the galaxy's nucleus; but in barred spirals like NGC 1365, the spiral emanate from each end of a bright central bar that extends across the nucleus. X-ray galaxies are those which emit unusually large amount of x-rays; this energy output may be accounted for by a very massive central black hole tearing stars apart by tidal forces. The picture is coloured according to the intensity of the light from the galaxy, from white (most intense) to pale blue (least intense).
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