Mysterious Dark Rays

Esahubble_potw2047a_1024

esahubble_potw2047a November 23rd, 2020

Credit: NASA, ESA, and W.P. Maksym (CfA)

Some of the most stunning views of our sky occur at sunset, when sunlight pierces the clouds, creating a mixture of bright and dark rays formed by the clouds shadows and the beams of light scattered by the atmosphere. Astronomers studying the nearby galaxy IC 5063 are tantalized by a similar effect in this new image from the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope. In this case, a collection of narrow bright rays and dark shadows is seen beaming out of the blazingly bright center of the active galaxy, shooting across at least 36,000 light-years. Astronomers have traced the rays back to the galaxys core, the location of an active supermassive black hole. The black hole is feeding on infalling material, producing a powerful gusher of light from superheated gas near it. Although the researchers have developed several plausible theories for the lightshow, the most intriguing idea suggests that the shadows are being cast into space by an inner tube-shaped ring, or torus, of dusty material surrounding the black hole. IC 5063 resides 156 million light-years from Earth.

Provider: Hubble Space Telescope | ESA

Image Source: https://www.spacetelescope.org/images/potw2047a/

Curator: ESA/Hubble, Garching bei München, None, Germany

Image Use Policy: Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License

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Image Details

Image Type
Observation
Object Name
IC 5063
Subject - Distant Universe
Galaxy > Component > Central Black Hole
Esahubble_potw2047a_128
 

Position Details

Position (ICRS)
RA = 20h 52m 2.3s
DEC = -57° 4’ 7.7”
Orientation
North is 3.3° CW
Field of View
1.3 x 1.2 arcminutes
Constellation
Indus

Color Mapping

  Telescope Spectral Band Wavelength
Orange Hubble (ACS) Optical (I) 814.0 nm
Blue Hubble (WFC3) Optical (i) 763.0 nm
Spectrum_base
Orange
Blue
Esahubble_potw2047a_1280
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ID
potw2047a
Subject Category
D.5.4.6  
Subject Name
IC 5063
Credits
NASA, ESA, and W.P. Maksym (CfA)
Release Date
2020-11-23T06:00:00
Lightyears
Redshift
Reference Url
https://www.spacetelescope.org/images/potw2047a/
Type
Observation
Image Quality
Good
Distance Notes
Facility
Hubble Space Telescope, Hubble Space Telescope
Instrument
ACS, WFC3
Color Assignment
Orange, Blue
Band
Optical, Optical
Bandpass
I, i
Central Wavelength
814, 763
Start Time
Integration Time
Dataset ID
None, None
Notes
Coordinate Frame
ICRS
Equinox
J2000
Reference Value
313.009624037, -57.0688081927
Reference Dimension
1541.0, 1389.0
Reference Pixel
770.5, 694.5
Scale
-1.38925211282e-05, 1.38925211282e-05
Rotation
-3.3200000000000114
Coordinate System Projection:
TAN
Quality
Full
FITS Header
Notes
Creator (Curator)
ESA/Hubble
URL
http://www.spacetelescope.org
Name
Space Telescope Science Institute Office of Public Outreach
Email
outreach@stsci.edu
Telephone
410-338-4444
Address
Karl-Schwarzschild-Strasse 2
City
Garching bei München
State/Province
None
Postal Code
D-85748
Country
Germany
Rights
Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
Publisher
ESA/Hubble
Publisher ID
esahubble
Resource ID
potw2047a
Metadata Date
2020-11-11T17:00:23+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.