Stunning image shows dark tendrils masking giant Centaurus A galaxy near Earth

Scientists have taken a new stunning image of a huge galaxy that is surrounded by dust filaments.
Centaurus A (the centaur), is visible in this image. It can be seen sprinkling across space from its location more than 12,000,000 light-years from Earth. Because it is bright and so close to Earth, the galaxy was first discovered in 1826.

The image shows that stars are visible, but large swathes of the galaxy are obscured by dust tendrils. These tendrils wrap around the galaxy's centre, where a supermassive dark hole, 55 times larger than the sun, conceals and emits a jet matter that acts as an bright source of radio radiation.

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A photograph of the galaxy Centaurus A taken by the Dark Energy Camera, based in Chile. (Image credit: CTIO/NOIRLab/DOE/NSF/AURA/M. Soraisam/T.A. Rector/M. Zamani/D. de Martin

Reddish hydrogen clouds are found among the dust, where new stars are being formed, and faint blue stars that are scattered around the corners of this dust cloud. This galaxy is the result of an encounter with another galaxy long ago that left CentaurusA shrouded by dust.

This image is from the Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory, Chile. It's part of a project to identify rapidly changing objects such as supernovas in the key galaxies in the southern sky.

Send Meghan Bartels an email at mbartels@space.com, or follow her Twitter @meghanbartels. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter @Spacedotcom

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