ESO PR Photo 33a/05 is a colour-composite image of the central 5,500 light-years wide region of the spiral galaxy NGC 1097, obtained with the NACO adaptive optics on the VLT. More than 300 star forming regions - white spots in the image - are distributed along a ring of dust and gas in the image. At the centre of the ring there is a bright central source where the active galactic nucleus and its super-massive black hole are located. The image was constructed by stacking J- (blue), H- (green), and Ks-band (red) images. North is up and East is to the left. The field of view is 24 x 29 arcsec2, i.e. less than 0.03% the size of the full moon!
New VLT Images Reveal the Surroundings of a Super-massive Black Hole
Near-infrared images of the active galaxy NGC 1097, obtained with the NACO adaptive optics instrument on ESO’s Very Large Telescope, disclose with unprecedented detail a complex central network of filamentary structure spiralling down to the centre of the galaxy. These observations provide astronomers with new insights on how super-massive black holes lurking inside galaxies get fed.
"This is possibly the first time that a detailed view of the channelling process of matter, from the main part of the galaxy down to the very end in the nucleus is released," says Almudena Prieto (Max-Planck Institute, Heidelberg, Germany), lead author of the paper describing these results.
Henri Boffin | alfa
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