An international team anchored by the Event Horizon Telescope (EHT) Collaboration, which is known for capturing the first image of a black hole in the galaxy Messier 87, has now imaged the heart of the nearest radio galaxy Centaurus A in unprecedented detail.
The astronomers pinpoint the location of the central supermassive black hole and reveal how a gigantic jet is being born.
Credit: Radboud University; CSIRO/ATNF/I. Feain et al., R. Morganti et al., N. Junkes et al.; ESO/WFI; MPIfR/ESO/APEX/A. Weiß et al.; NASA/CXC/CfA/R. Kraft et al.; TANAMI/C. Müller et al.; EHT/M. Janßen et al.
Distance scales uncovered in the Centaurus A jet.
The top left image shows how the jet disperses into gas clouds that emit radio waves, captured by the ATCA and Parkes observatories.
The top right panel displays a color composite image, with a 40x zoom compared to the first panel to match the size of the galaxy itself.
Submillimeter emission from the jet and dust in the galaxy measured by the LABOCA/APEX instrument is shown in orange.
X-ray emission from the jet measured by the Chandra spacecraft is shown in blue.
Visible white light from the stars in the galaxy has been captured by the MPG/ESO 2.2-metre telescope.
The next panel below shows a 165 000x zoom image of the inner radio jet obtained with the TANAMI telescopes.
The bottom panel depicts the new highest resolution image of the jet launching region obtained with the EHT at millimeter wavelengths with a 60 000 000x zoom in telescope resolution.
Indicated scale bars are shown in light years and light days.
One light year is equal to the distance that light travels within one year: about nine trillion kilometers.
In comparison, the distance to the nearest-known star from our Sun is approximately four light years.
One light day is equal to the distance that light travels within one day: about six times the distance between the Sun and Neptune.