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Core and optical jet of galaxy M87

Core and optical jet of galaxy M87

R860/0049

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Credit

NASA / ESA / STSCI / H.FORD ET AL / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY NASA / ESA / STSCI / H.FORD ET AL / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption

The core and optical jet of galaxy M87. Coloured optical image of the centre of M87 made by the Hubble Space Telescope (HST). M87 is a large elliptical galaxy with an active core. The very centre of the core has a far stronger gravitational field than explainable by the observed stellar density, suggesting the presence of a supermassive black hole. This black hole is also presumed to be the 'engine' which powers the optical jet seen here pointing toward upper right. The jet consists in visible light emitted by a cone of fast-moving electrons as they spiral through the galaxy's immense magnetic field.

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