by Samantha Mathewson
A spiral galaxy known as NGC 7172
edge-on by the Hubble Space Telescope.
credit: ESA/Hubble/NASA/D. J. Rosario/A. Barth;
Acknowledgment: L. Shatz)
NASA's venerable space telescope has captured a stunning new view of
a galaxy with an active black hole obscured by tendrils of dark
The spiral galaxy, known as NGC 7172, is located about 110 million
light-years from Earth in the constellation
The image combines two
sets of images taken by the Hubble Space Telescope's:
The new image, which
NASA shared on April 1, highlights
tendrils of dark dust threaded across the heart of the galaxy.
That dust obscures the
bright central region of the galaxy. When viewed from the side, the
dusty tendrils make NGC 7172 look like a normal spiral galaxy.
However, NGC 7172
actually has an incredibly bright, active galactic nucleus,
according to a NASA statement.
inspected NGC 7172 across the electromagnetic spectrum they
quickly discovered that there was more to it than meets the
eye," NASA officials said in the statement.
"NGC 7172 is a
Seyfert galaxy - a type of
galaxy with an intensely luminous active galactic nucleus
powered by matter accreting onto a supermassive black hole."
As dust and gas falls
into the galaxy's central supermassive
black hole, it emits bright rays of
In fact, a galaxy with an
active galactic nucleus is able to
produce more radiation than the entire rest of the galaxy.
The recent Hubble observations were collected as part of a study of
nearby active galactic nuclei.
Hubble has been
observing the universe since its launch in April 1990
Its Advanced Camera
for Surveys recently marked 20 years in space...