From microwaves to megamasers

Esahubble_potw1735a_500

esahubble_potw1735a August 28th, 2017

Credit: ESA/Hubble & NASA

Phenomena across the Universe emit radiation spanning the entire electromagnetic spectrum from high-energy gamma rays, which stream out from the most energetic events in the cosmos, to lower-energy microwaves and radio waves. Microwaves, the very same radiation that can heat up your dinner, are produced by a multitude of astrophysical sources, including strong emitters known as masers (microwave lasers), even stronger emitters with the somewhat villainous name of megamasers, and the centres of some galaxies. Especially intense and luminous galactic centres are known as active galactic nuclei. They are in turn thought to be driven by the presence of supermassive black holes, which drag surrounding material inwards and spit out bright jets and radiation as they do so. The two galaxies shown here, imaged by the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope, are named MCG+01-38-004 (the upper, red-tinted one) and MCG+01-38-005 (the lower, blue-tinted one). MCG+01-38-005 is a special kind of megamaser; the galaxys active galactic nucleus pumps out huge amounts of energy, which stimulates clouds of surrounding water. Waters constituent atoms of hydrogen and oxygen are able to absorb some of this energy and re-emit it at specific wavelengths, one of which falls within the microwave regime. MCG+01-38-005 is thus known as a water megamaser! Astronomers can use such objects to probe the fundamental properties of the Universe. The microwave emissions from MCG+01-38-005 were used to calculate a refined value for the Hubble constant, a measure of how fast the Universe is expanding. This constant is named after the astronomer whose observations were responsible for the discovery of the expanding Universe and after whom the Hubble Space Telescope was named, Edwin Hubble.

Image Source: https://www.spacetelescope.org/images/potw1735a/

Curator: ESA/Hubble, Garching bei München, Germany

Image Use Policy: Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License

Image Details

Image Type
Observation
Object Name
MCG+01-38-004 MCG+01-38-005
Subject - Local Universe
Galaxy » Type » Interacting
Esahubble_potw1735a_128
 

Position Details

Position (ICRS)
RA = 14h 50m 50.9s
DEC = 5° 6’ 55.7”
Orientation
North is 25.3° CCW
Field of View
2.5 x 1.5 arcminutes
Constellation
Virgo

Color Mapping

  Telescope Spectral Band Wavelength
Arrow_left_green Hubble Space Telescope (WFC3) Optical (B) 438.0 nm
Arrow_left_green Hubble Space Telescope (WFC3) Optical (I) 814.0 nm
Arrow_left_red Hubble Space Telescope (WFC3) Optical (I) 814.0 nm
Arrow_left_blue Hubble Space Telescope (WFC3) Optical (U) 336.0 nm
Arrow_left_blue Hubble Space Telescope (WFC3) Optical (B) 438.0 nm
Spectrum_base
Arrow_top_green
Arrow_top_green
Arrow_top_red
Arrow_top_blue
Arrow_top_blue
Esahubble_potw1735a_1280
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ID
potw1735a
Subject Category
C.5.1.7  
Subject Name
MCG+01-38-004, MCG+01-38-005
Credits
ESA/Hubble & NASA
Lightyears
Redshift
Reference Url
https://www.spacetelescope.org/images/potw1735a/
Type
Observation
Image Quality
Distance Notes
Facility
Hubble Space Telescope, Hubble Space Telescope, Hubble Space Telescope, Hubble Space Telescope, Hubble Space Telescope
Instrument
WFC3, WFC3, WFC3, WFC3, WFC3
Color Assignment
Green, Green, Red, Blue, Blue
Band
Optical, Optical, Optical, Optical, Optical
Bandpass
B, I, I, U, B
Central Wavelength
438, 814, 814, 336, 438
Start Time
Integration Time
Dataset ID
Notes
Coordinate Frame
ICRS
Equinox
J2000
Reference Value
222.711975392, 5.11547705976
Reference Dimension
3766.0, 2206.0
Reference Pixel
1883.0, 1103.0
Scale
-1.1016014834e-05, 1.1016014834e-05
Rotation
25.299999999999976
Coordinate System Projection:
TAN
Quality
Full
FITS Header
Notes
Creator (Curator)
ESA/Hubble
URL
http://www.spacetelescope.org
Name
Email
Telephone
Address
Karl-Schwarzschild-Strasse 2
City
Garching bei München
State/Province
Postal Code
D-85748
Country
Germany
Rights
Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
Publisher
ESA/Hubble
Publisher ID
esahubble
Resource ID
potw1735a
Metadata Date
2016-11-07T17:17:13+01:00
Metadata Version
1.1
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Detailed color mapping information coming soon...

 

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There is no distance meta data in this image.