NGC 1068 Nucleus and Ionizing Cone
In this view of the core of galaxy NGC 1068, NASA's Hubble Space Telescope reveals far more detail than has ever been seen from the ground. This picture was taken through a narrow band filter with HST's Wide Field/Planetary Camera (WF/PC). The image was then computer processed to show additional detail in the clouds of ionized gas in the nucleus of NGC 1068.
Clouds as small as 10 light-years across are clearly resolved in the central 150 light-years of the core. The clouds are glowing because they are caught in a "searchlight" of radiation beamed out of the galaxy's energetic nucleus, which may contain a massive black hole. A schematic representation of this invisible cone of ionizing radiation has been artificially added to the image to illustrate how radiation is beamed from the hidden nucleus.