Fornax Radio Lobes

Fornax radio lobes


Often our view of the Universe through visible light is an incomplete story. Here a visible light image has been combined with data taken at radio wavelengths. This reveals two giant lobes, spanning almost a million light years, apparently coming from the galaxy known as NGC 1316 at centre. Detailed observations suggest that this galaxy collided with another smaller neighbour about 100 million years ago. Gas from the galactic collision has fallen inward toward the supermassive black hole at the core of the galaxy, with friction heating the gas to 10 million degrees. For reasons not yet well understood, two oppositely pointed fast moving jets of particles then developed, eventually smashing into the ambient material on either side of the giant elliptical galaxy. The result is a huge reservoir of hot gas that emits radio waves, seen here in orange.

Image © NRAO/AUI and J.Uson


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