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NASA Astronomy Picture of the Day January 26, 2023: Dazzling Active Galaxy

NASA’s Astronomy Picture of the Day is a mesmerizing snapshot of the Active Galaxy NGC 1275 located at the center of the Perseus Galaxy Cluster.

In the Universe, galaxies exist in the vastness of space. But they are not alone. In fact, galaxies exist in huge groups closely bound together by gravity. Most galaxies exist in groups or clusters with tens or hundreds of members, and these cluster galaxies are all in constant motion, pulled and twisted by their neighbour’s gravity. Clusters of galaxies are the largest objects in the universe bound by gravity, and astronomers can use them to measure important cosmological properties, according to NASA.

Galaxies are also known to contain dark matter that is invisible to telescopes because they do not emit, absorb or reflect electromagnetic radiation. NASA’s Astronomy Picture of the Day is a mesmerizing snapshot of the Active Galaxy NGC 1275 that spans more than 100,000 light-years. NGC 1275 is part of the Perseus Cluster of Galaxies. One of the closest and most studied clusters of galaxies, the Perseus Galaxy Cluster of Galaxies, is located nearly 250 million light-years away from Earth in the constellation Perseus. NGC 1275 is a massive elliptical galaxy at the center of the galaxy cluster.

The stunning image was taken by the Hubble Space Telescope operated by NASA and ESA. Professor Andrew C Fabian OBE, an astronomer and astrophysicist from the University of Cambridge, was also involved in capturing this amazing celestial body.

NASA explains

The active galaxy NGC 1275 is the central, dominant member of the large and relatively nearby Perseus cluster of galaxies. The active galaxy looks wild at visible wavelengths and is also a prodigious source of X-rays and radio emissions. NGC 1275 accumulates matter as entire galaxies fall into it, eventually fueling a supermassive black hole at the galaxy’s core. This color composite image, created from Hubble Space Telescope data captured in 2006. It highlights the resulting galactic debris and filaments of glowing gas, some of which are as long as 20,000 light-years. The filaments persist in NGC 1275, though the turmoil of galactic collisions should destroy them.

What holds the filaments together? Observations indicate that the structures pushed from the center of the galaxy by the activity of the black hole are held together by magnetic fields. NGC 1275, also known as Perseus A, spans more than 100,000 light-years and is about 230 million light-years distant.

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