This new composite image of Centaurus A was created with X-ray data from NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory, infrared data from the Spitzer Space Telescope, and optical data collected by an amateur astronomer.
Centaurus A is the fifth brightest galaxy in the sky — making it an ideal target for amateur astronomers — and is famous for the dust lane across its middle and a giant jet blasting away from the supermassive black hole at its center. Cen A is an active galaxy about 12 million light years from Earth.
This image is part of a “quartet of galaxies” collaboration of professional and amateur astronomers that combines optical data from amateur telescopes with data from the archives of NASA missions. NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, manages the Chandra program for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate in Washington. The Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory in Cambridge, Massachusetts, controls Chandra’s science and flight operations.
Image: X-ray: NASA/CXC/SAO; Optical: Rolf Olsen; Infrared: NASA/JPL-Caltech