December 2016: Picture of the Month

December 2016: Picture of the Month


This recently released image of the elliptical galaxy NGC 4696 from the Hubble Space Telescope shows long filaments of dust and gas appearing to connect to a central region. The region is thought to contain a supermassive black hole, which is pumping out energy. The heating of the surrounding region is pushing out cooler dust and gas and shutting down star formation. Balanced by the magnetic field, these filaments appear to spiral in and circle the black hole.

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