Hubble space telescope sees galaxies with active centers, This swirling mass of celestial gas, dust and stars is a moderately luminous spiral galaxy named ESO 021-G004, located just under 130 million light-years away.

This galaxy has something known as an active galactic nucleus. While this phrase sounds complex, this simply means that astronomers measure a lot of radiation at all wavelengths coming from the center of the galaxies with active centers.

This radiation is generated by material falling inward into the very central region of ESO 021-G004, and meeting the behemoth lurking there a supermassive black hole. As material falls toward this black hole it is dragged into orbit as part of an accretion disk; it becomes superheated as it swirls around and around, emitting characteristic high-energy radiation until it is eventually devoured.

The data comprising this image were gathered by the Wide Field Camera 3 aboard the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope.

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