Galaxy IC 5063 puts on a stunning light show. Today’s Image of the Day from the European Space Agency features the nearby active galaxy IC 5063 captured by the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope.
The photo looks like what we would see in our own sky at sunset, as light beams and shadows of clouds are scattered by the atmosphere.
The combination of bright and dark rays emerges from the bright center of the galaxy, shooting across at least 36,000 light-years.
According to the ESA, astronomers have traced the rays back to an active supermassive black hole located in the galaxy’s core.
The researchers have several theories for how the stunning light show of galaxy IC 5063 is produced. One theory proposes that the shadows are being cast into space by a ring of dusty material surrounding the black hole.A galaxy is a gravitationally bound system of stars, stellar remnants, interstellar gas, dust, and dark matter. The word galaxy is derived from the Greek galaxias (γαλαξίας), literally “milky”, a reference to the Milky Way. Galaxies range in size from dwarfs with just a few hundred million (10) stars to giants with one hundred trillion (10) stars, each orbiting its galaxy’s center of mass.
Image Credit: ESA
By Chrissy Sexton, Earth.com Staff Writer