JOE TUCCIARONE / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY JOE TUCCIARONE / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Active galaxy. Artwork of the active galaxy Centaurus A (NGC 5128, upper left), seen from a nearby planetary system. At a distance of 16 million light years from Earth, Centaurus A is one of the nearest active galaxies. It is the third strongest radio source in the sky and radiation at X-ray and gamma ray wavelengths has also been detected. The main feature of NGC 5128 at optical wavelengths is the presence of a dark band of interstellar dust which does not allow an optical view of the stars in this region. It is characterised at radio wavelengths by the presence of two huge "radio lobes", which are about ten times larger than the optical size of the galaxy.
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