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News Release Archive:

News Release 297 of 959

December 17, 2007 01:00 PM (EST)

News Release Number: STScI-2007-37

"Death Star" Galaxy Black Hole Fires at Neighboring Galaxy

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Video: Animation of Galaxy 3C 321

Artist's Concept Running Time: 47 seconds

This animation of 3C 321 begins with a close-up of the supermassive black hole in the center of the main galaxy. Hot gas is falling towards the black hole via a blue disk. Some of this material is swallowed by the black hole, but much of it is ejected in a narrow jet of particles traveling at almost the speed of light. The camera then pulls back to show stars and a dust lane in the main galaxy. As the field of view continues to increase in size, the companion galaxy becomes visible as it swings into the path of the jet from the main galaxy. The jet is deflected and disrupted by the impact with the companion galaxy.

Credit: NASA, ESA, and G. Bacon (STScI)

Selected still images from this video (click to enlarge):