Thursday, 1 March 2012

New Telescope Captures Supermassive Black Hole

The supermassive black hole in the core of a distant galaxy known as Cygnus A spews jets of gas into space over distances of more than 200,000 light-years. The jets (orange) were imaged by the new International Low-Frequency Array (LOFAR) Telescope in Europe. The picture shows how the jets slam into the hot gas surrounding the galaxy (blue, imaged by NASA's Chandra x-ray space telescope). LOFAR consist of tens of thousands of small antennas spread out over a few dozen stations in the Netherlands, Germany, France, the United Kingdom, and Sweden. Observations like these, presented at the 219th meeting of the American Astronomical Society here, reveal that the nearly-completed radio telescope is performing well. Later this year, astronomers from all over the world will be able to use the new observatory.
Credit: (c) J. McKean and M. Wise, ASTRON

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