The Hidden Engine of NGC 4945

Portrayed in this image is the spiral galaxy NGC 4945, a close neighbour of the Milky Way. Belonging to the Centaurus A group of galaxies, it is located at a distance of almost 13 million light-years. Showing a remarkable resemblance to our own galaxy, NGC 4945 also hides a supermassive black hole behind the thick, ring-shaped structure of dust visible in the picture. But, unlike the black hole at the centre of our Milky Way, the million-solar-mass black hole inside NGC 4945 is an Active Galactic Nucleus that is frantically consuming any surrounding matter, and so releasing tremendous amounts of energy.

This image combines observations performed through three different filters (B, V, R) with the 1.5-metre Danish telescope at the ESO La Silla Observatory in Chile.

Credit:

ESO/IDA/Danish 1.5 m/R. Gendler and C. Thöne

About the Image

Id:potw1007a
Type:Observation
Release date:15 February 2010, 11:21
Size:2970 x 1800 px

About the Object

Name:NGC 4945
Type:• Local Universe : Galaxy : Type : Spiral
• Local Universe : Galaxy : Component : Central Black Hole
• X - Galaxies
Distance:13 million light years
Constellation:Centaurus

Image Formats

Large JPEG
1.6 MB
Screensize JPEG
184.0 KB

Zoomable


Wallpapers

1024x768
291.6 KB
1280x1024
455.8 KB
1600x1200
642.9 KB
1920x1200
765.2 KB
2048x1536
1.0 MB

Coordinates

Position (RA):13 5 24.66
Position (Dec):-49° 28' 0.35"
Field of view:19.54 x 11.84 arcminutes
Orientation:North is 45.0° right of vertical

Colours & filters

BandTelescope
Optical
B
Danish 1.54-metre telescope
Optical
V
Danish 1.54-metre telescope
Optical
R
Danish 1.54-metre telescope

 

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