NASA’s “old” Hubble offers excellent view of the active nucleus of spiral galaxies

The Hubble Space Telescope, jointly managed by NASA and the European Space Agency (ESA), is one of the most trusted tools for observing long-range objects in space,media BGR reported. For the past 29 years, it has been sending stunning images and repairing and upgrading them in the process. On the last day of 2019, NASA selected a particularly cute image from data captured by the Hubble telescope.

The image shows a galaxy called ESO 021-G004, about 130 million light-years from Earth. The “heart” of the galaxy is still visible enough that astronomers can provide some insight. NASA scientists say:

This galaxy has something called an active galactic nucleus. While this may sound complicated, it only means that astronomers measured large amounts of radiation at all wavelengths from the center of the Milky Way. This radiation is produced by falling inward into the central region of ESO 021-G004 and encountering a behemoth lurking in it, a supermassive black hole. When the material falls into the black hole, it is dragged into orbit as part of the accretion disk. It becomes overheated as it rotates around, emitting characteristic high-energy radiation until it is eventually swallowed.

The data that made the image possible was collected by Hubble’s “third-generation wide-angle camera.” The telescope has been performing well for nearly three decades and remains the first choice for many scientists and astronomers. Perhaps most incredible, Hubble, who turns 30 this year, could continue to operate for a decade, even until 2040.

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