THE FOLLOWING RELEASE WAS RECEIVED FROM THE CHANDRA X-RAY OBSERVATORY, CENTER IN CAMBRIDGE, MASSACHUSETTS and NASA's MARSHALL SPACE FLIGHT CENTER IN HUNTSVILLE, ALABAMA,
For Immediate Release: August 7, 2001
CHANDRA SPIES SPECTACULAR JET IN NEARBY ELLIPTICAL GALAXY
NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory has captured a stunning image of Centaurus A, a massive elliptical galaxy approximately 11 million light years from Earth. In addition to the bright central source, a suspected supermassive black hole, and the X-ray jet emanating from the core, more than 200 point-like X-ray sources were identified and studied. Because of their distribution around the center of the galaxy, it is believed that most of these point-like X-ray sources are X-ray binaries in which a neutron star or stellar-sized black hole is consuming matter from a nearby companion star. A diffuse cloud of hot X-ray producing gas that envelopes the central region can also be seen. A team of scientists, led by Ralph Kraft of the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory, has begun to study each of these components of X-ray emission from Cen A. The unprecedented imaging resolution of Chandra allows scientists for the first time to clearly resolve each of these distinct components of the X-ray emission for detailed study. This latest image of Centaurus A was the result of approximately 20 hours of observations with Chandra's Advanced CCD Imaging Spectrometer on December 5, 1999, and May 17, 2000.
The image and other information associated with this release are available at: