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From the Hubble website: This image of the core of the nearby spiral galaxy M51, taken with the Wide Field Planetary camera (in PC mode) on NASA's Hubble Space Telescope, shows a striking , dark "X" silhouetted across the galaxy's nucleus. The "X" is due to absorption by dust and marks the exact position of a black hole which may have a mass equivalent to one-million stars like the sun. The darkest bar may be an edge-on dust ring which is 100 light-years in diameter. The edge-on torus not only hides the black hole and accretion disk from being viewed directly from earth, but also determines the axis of a jet of high-speed plasma and confines radiation from the accretion disk to a pair of oppositely directed cones of light, which ionize gas caught in their beam. The second bar of the "X" could be a second disk seen edge on, or possibly rotating gas and dust in MS1 intersecting with the jets and ionization cones. The size of the image is 1100 light-years.

Comments

fletchboy said…
I'm glad they explained that to me so well. For a minute there, I thought maybe it was...well...a cross. I feel better now, knowing that it was really just a random thing. :-) Have you seen, "Indescribable" on video?
Sandy said…
Yes, looks like a cross to me too!

No haven't seen Indescribable on video... meaning, Chris Tomlin's song?
fletchboy said…
Louie Giglio has a whole presentation called "Indescribable" which spins off of the song. He works his way deeper and deeper into the galaxy, and this pic plays a role. I'll bring it (if I can get my copy back...loaned it out...) when we come down to visit you guys...or you can watch it here when you come to visit us!

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