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3C305: An Intriguing Glowing Galaxy

  • 3C305 is a galaxy about 600 million light years from Earth

  • A supermassive black hole at its core is causing its intriguing appearance

  • It's still uncertain exactly what is causing the X-ray emission that Chandra detects

Activity from a supermassive black hole is responsible for the intriguing appearance of this galaxy, 3C305, located about 600 million light years away from Earth. The structures in red and light blue are X-ray and optical images from the Chandra X-ray Observatory and Hubble Space Telescope respectively. The optical data is from oxygen emission only, and therefore the full extent of the galaxy is not seen. Radio data are shown in darker blue and are from the National Science Foundation's Very Large Array in New Mexico, as well as the Multi-Element Radio-Linked Interferometer Network in the United Kingdom.

An unexpected feature of this multiwavelength image of 3C305 is that the radio emission -- produced by a jet from the central black hole -- does not closely overlap with the X-ray data. The X-ray emission does, however, seem to be associated with the optical emission.

Using this information, astronomers believe that the X-ray emission could be caused by either one of two different effects. One option is jets from the supermassive black hole (not visible in this image) are interacting with interstellar gas in the galaxy and heating it enough for it to emit X-rays. In this scenario, gas heated by shocks would lie ahead of the jets. The other possibility is that bright radiation from regions close to the black hole infuses enough energy into the interstellar gas to cause it to glow. Deeper X-ray data will be needed to decide between these alternatives.

Fast Facts for 3C305:
Credit  X-ray (NASA/CXC/CfA/F.Massaro, et al.); Optical (NASA/STScI/C.P.O'Dea); Radio (NSF/VLA/CfA/F.Massaro, et al.)
Release Date  May 14, 2009
Scale  Image is 6 arcsec across
Category  Quasars & Active Galaxies
Coordinates (J2000)  RA 14h 49m 21.37s | Dec +63° 16´ 14.00"
Constellation  Draco
Observation Date  April 7, 2008
Observation Time  2 hours 10 minutes
Obs. ID  9330
Instrument  ACIS
Color Code  X-ray (Red); Optical (Cyan); Radio (Blue)
Distance Estimate  About 592 million light years
distance arrow
Visitor Comments (5)

If you look closely the right hand radio wave is actually emanating from another stellar source to the forefront of the galaxy. I wonder were the two radio wave sources sampled for similar wavelength and Doppler?

Posted by J. M. Rogers on Wednesday, 05.12.10 @ 03:36am

Thank you very much for showing us different types of space images. I believe that one day a planet like earth will be found out there.

Posted by Chima on Monday, 09.28.09 @ 15:00pm


Thanks for your question. By human or solar-system standards 3C305 is at an enormous distance, but it is relatively close compared to the scale of
the observable Universe which is many billions of light years across.

The authors do not discuss the age of the galaxy, but it is likely to
contain stars that are a significant fraction of the age of the Universe,
that is over 10 billion years old. However, some stars will be much younger
than this.
-P.Edmonds for CXC

Posted by P. Edmonds on Wednesday, 07.8.09 @ 12:20pm

Galaxy 3c305 is at an incredible distance. Is this galaxy toward the edge of our visible universe?
What is guess estimated age?
Imagine the planets and life there, hummm.
Thanks for providing this image.

Posted by david s on Monday, 07.6.09 @ 11:46am

Thank you so much for sending me this info I just don't think that life could be so wonderful thanks again

Posted by Christina Vagner on Thursday, 05.21.09 @ 22:46pm

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Blog: 3C305
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Chandra X-ray Image of 3C305
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