Astronomy Picture of the Day

Discover the cosmos! Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe is featured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer.

2000 June 19

The Long Jet of Pictor A
Credit: Andrew Wilson (Maryland) et al., ACIS, Chandra, NASA

Explanation: A jet stretching nearly a million light years has been imaged emanating from galaxy Pictor A. The thin jet of electrons and protons shoots out at nearly light-speed likely from the vicinity of a large black hole at the galaxy center. At the left of the above image in X-rays is the radio galaxy Pictor A, known as a radio galaxy for its strong radio emission. At the far end of the jet on the right a hot spot glows as the intense particle beam bores through a gas cloud in intergalactic space. The jet and hot spot of Pictor A had been seen previously in radio waves, but only recently has the orbiting Chandra X-ray Observatory confirmed its unusual power.

Tomorrow's picture: The Largest Moon

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Authors & editors: Robert Nemiroff (MTU) & Jerry Bonnell (USRA)
NASA Technical Rep.: Jay Norris. Specific rights apply.
A service of: LHEA at NASA/GSFC
& Michigan Tech. U.