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Last updated on April 19, 2014 at 13:20 EDT
RadioOptical overlay of Fornax A
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Radio/Optical overlay of Fornax A

November 4, 2003
The superposition of the radio emission of Fornax A (red) and surrounding optical field (blue-white). The radio source consists of two large radio lobes, each about 200 kpc across, which contain complicated patterns of emission. At the center of the optical field is the central dominant elliptical galaxy of the Fornax cluster, NGC 1316, with its barred companion NGC 1317 just above it. NGC 1316 is an optically peculiar galaxy, with many shells and ripples. Many observations suggest that this system is the remant of two or more galaxies merging together approximately 3 billion years ago. The merging activing may help helped build up a supermassive black hole in the center of NGC1316. There is a faint pink feature in the center which is the radio emission associated with this blackhole. All of the particles and energy which created the two big lobes have come from the blackhole and two faint pink extensions, the path where this energy flows, are just visible in the center.