Peering into a Galaxy’s Dusty Core to Study an Active Supermassive Black Hole


Mar 17, 2021

Researchers using NASA’s upcoming James Webb Space Telescope will map and model the core of nearby galaxy Centaurus A.

Centaurus A is a giant of a galaxy, but its appearances in telescope observations can be deceiving. Dark dust lanes and young blue star clusters, which crisscross its central region, are apparent in ultraviolet, visible, and near-infrared light, painting a fairly subdued landscape. But by switching to X-ray and radio light views, a far more raucous scene begins to unfold: From the core of the misshapen elliptical galaxy, spectacular jets of material have erupted from its active supermassive black hole – known as an active galactic nucleus – sending material into space well beyond the galaxy’s limits.

Centaurus A sports a warped central disk of gas and dust, which is evidence of a past collision and merger with another galaxy.

Centaurus A sports a warped central disk of gas and dust, which is evidence of a past collision and merger with another galaxy. It also has an active galactic nucleus that periodically emits jets. It is the fifth brightest galaxy in the sky and only about 13 million light-years away from Earth, making it an ideal target to study an active galactic nucleus – a supermassive black hole emitting jets and winds – with NASA’s upcoming James Webb Space Telescope.Credits: X-ray: NASA/CXC/SAO; optical: Rolf Olsen; infrared: NASA/JPL-Caltech; radio: NRAO/AUI/NSF/Univ.Hertfordshire/M.Hardcastle

What, precisely, is happening at its core to cause all this activity? Upcoming observations led by Nora Lützgendorf and Macarena García Marín of the European Space Agency using NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope will allow researchers to peer through its dusty core in high resolution for the first time to begin to answer these questions.

“There’s so much going on in Centaurus A,” explains Lützgendorf. “The galaxy’s gas, disk, and stars all move under the influence of its central supermassive black hole. Since the galaxy is so close to us, we’ll be able to use Webb to create two-dimensional maps to see how the gas and stars move in its central region, how they are influenced by the jets from its active galactic nucleus, and ultimately better characterize the mass of its black hole.”

Centaurus A's dusty core is apparent in visible light, but its jets are best viewed in X-ray and radio light.

Centaurus A’s dusty core is apparent in visible light, but its jets are best viewed in X-ray and radio light. With upcoming observations from NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope in infrared light, researchers hope to better pinpoint the mass of the galaxy’s central supermassive black hole as well as evidence that shows where the jets were ejected.Credits: X-ray: NASA/CXC/SAO; optical: Rolf Olsen; infrared: NASA/JPL-Caltech; radio: NRAO/AUI/NSF/Univ.Hertfordshire/M.Hardcastle

A Quick Look Back

Let’s hit “rewind” to review a bit of what is already known about Centaurus A. It’s well studied because it’s relatively nearby – about 13 million light-years away – which means we can clearly resolve the full galaxy. The first record of it was logged in the mid-1800s, but astronomers lost interest until the 1950s because the galaxy appeared to be a quiet, if misshapen, elliptical galaxy. Once researchers were able to begin observing with radio telescopes in the 1940s and ’50s, Centaurus A became radically more interesting – and its jets came into view. In 1954, researchers found that Centaurus A is the result of two galaxies that merged, which was later estimated to have occurred 100 million years ago.

With more observations in the early 2000s, researchers estimated that about 10 million years ago, its active galactic nucleus shot out twin jets in opposite directions. When examined across the electromagnetic spectrum, from X-ray to radio light, it’s clear there is far more to this story that we still have to learn.

“Multi-wavelength studies of any galaxy are like the layers of an onion. Each wavelength shows you something different,” said Marín. “With Webb’s near- and mid-infrared instruments, we’ll see far colder gas and dust than in previous observations, and learn much more about the environment at the center of the galaxy.”

Supermassive black holes, which lie at the centers of galaxies, are voracious.

Supermassive black holes, which lie at the centers of galaxies, are voracious. They periodically “sip” or “gulp” from the swirling disks of gas and dust that orbit them, which can result in massive outflows that affect star formation locally and farther afield. When NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope begins observing galaxies’ cores, its infrared instruments will pierce through the dust to deliver images and incredibly high-resolution data that allow researchers to learn precisely how one process sets off another, and how they create an enormous feedback loop.Credits: NASA, ESA, and L. Hustak (STScI)

Visualizing Webb’s Data

The team led by Lützgendorf and Marín will observe Centaurus A not only by taking images with Webb, but by gathering data known as spectra, which spread out light into its component wavelengths like a rainbow. Webb’s spectra will reveal high-resolution information about the temperatures, speeds, and compositions of the material at the center of the galaxy.

In particular, Webb’s Near Infrared Spectrograph (NIRSpec and Mid-Infrared Instrument (MIRI) will provide the research team with a combination of data: an image plus a spectrum from within each pixel of that image. This will allow the researchers to build intricate 2D maps from the spectra that will help them identify what’s happening behind the veil of dust at the center – and analyze it from many angles in depth.

Compare this style of modeling to the analysis of a garden. In the same way botanists classify plants based on specific sets of features, these researchers will classify spectra from Webb’s MIRI to construct “gardens” or models. “If you take a snapshot of a garden from a great distance away,” Marín explained, “You will see something green, but with Webb, we will be able to see individual leaves and flowers, their stems, and maybe the soil underneath.”

As the research team digs into the spectra, they’ll build maps from individual parts of the garden, comparing one spectrum to another nearby spectrum. This is analogous to determining which parts contain which plant species based on comparisons of “stems,” “leaves,” and “flowers” as they go.

“When it comes to spectral analysis, we conduct many comparisons,” Marín continued. “If I compare two spectra in this region, maybe I will find that what was observed contains a prominent population of young stars. Or confirm which areas are both dusty and heated. Or maybe we will identify emission coming from the active galactic nucleus.”

In other words, the “ecosystem” of spectra has many levels, which will allow the team to better define precisely what is present and where it is – which is made possible by Webb’s specialized infrared instruments. And, since these studies will build on many that came before, the researchers will be able to confirm, refine, or break new ground by identifying new features.

Watch as the jets and winds from a supermassive black hole affect its host galaxy – and the space hundreds of thousands of light-years away over millions of years.Credits: NASA, ESA, and L. Hustak (STScI)

Weighing the Black Hole in Centaurus A

The combination of images and spectra provided by NIRSpec and MIRI will allow the team to create very high-resolution maps of the speeds of the gas and stars at the center of Centaurus A. “We plan to use these maps to model how the entire disk at the center of the galaxy moves to more precisely determine the black hole’s mass,” Lützgendorf explains.

Since researchers understand how the gravity of a black hole governs the rotation of nearby gas, they can use the Webb data to weigh the black hole in Centaurus A. With a more complete set of infrared data, they will also determine if different parts of the gas are all behaving as anticipated. “I’m looking forward to fully filling out our data,” Lützgendorf said. “I hope to see how the ionized gas behaves and twirls, and where we see the jets.”

The researchers are also hoping to break new ground. “It’s possible we’ll find things we haven’t considered yet,” Lützgendorf explains. “In some aspects, we’ll be covering completely new territory with Webb.” Marín wholeheartedly agrees, and adds that building on a wealth of existing data is invaluable. “The most exciting aspects about these observations is the potential for new discoveries,” she said. “I think we might find something that makes us look back to other data and reinterpret what was seen earlier.”

These studies of Centaurus A will be conducted as part of Gillian Wright and Pierre Ferruit’s joint MIRI and NIRSpec Guaranteed Time Observations programs. All of Webb’s data will ultimately be stored in the publicly accessible Barbara A. Mikulski Archive for Space Telescopes (MAST) at the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore.

The James Webb Space Telescope will be the world’s premier space science observatory when it launches in 2021. Webb will solve mysteries in our solar system, look beyond to distant worlds around other stars, and probe the mysterious structures and origins of our universe and our place in it. Webb is an international program led by NASA with its partners, ESA (European Space Agency) and the Canadian Space Agency.

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March 18, 2021 3:51 am

No comments? Well, here is one:
How does super-massive black hole launches radiation and gas into space, when it is suppose to ‘gulp’ everything in its vicinity?
Well, not sure if they exist but never mind that bit.
Anything approaching super-massive body will be accelerated to enormous velocity on a path of ‘d..eath’. In the mixture of gas and all sorts of EM radiation bent around in a spiral.
Any atom of the matter will heat to extremely high temperatures (perhaps millions of K) shedding off electrons and  acquiring huge mass (due to near speed of light velocity).
As the spiral tightens up (now super-massive) nuclei collisions will occur, result: fusion of nuclei releasing even more EM energy.
Some of the stuff will be absorbed by ‘super-massive body’ and some accelerated by toroidal magnetic field (created by swirling ions) into jets, breaking away into surrounding space. 
If the above makes any sense, then elements heavier than hydrogen might be created not only inside the stars and supernova explosions but inside the accretion disk of a super-massive body (my hypothesis 🙂 ) ?!. 

Last edited 26 days ago by Vuk
Reply to  Vuk
March 18, 2021 4:20 am

I think I’m okay with the cyclic “gulping” and ejection thing, theoreticalisciously, but either their theory on heating the disk is rubbish, or the diagram is rubbish. I am a 3d-mindmodeller kinda guy, and this picture does not work for me.
Then again, I’m one of the heretics that think we see black holes when we believe in them.

Reply to  paranoid goy
March 18, 2021 12:20 pm

If they think they have “radio light” and “X-ray light”, I would not spend too long worrying whether the rest of this HS makes sense.

Reply to  Greg
March 18, 2021 8:30 pm

Astronomers’ light is any electromagnetic radiation. That is why they distinguish what the human eye can see as “visible” light.

Not quite as jarring to the users of non-astronomy English as calling every element with three or more protons in the nucleus “metals.”

Last edited 26 days ago by writing observer
Reply to  Vuk
March 18, 2021 4:27 am

… a super-massive galactic size hadron collider 🙂

Reply to  Vuk
March 18, 2021 10:24 am

Answer — theoretically (and well-accepted) by tightly-twisted polar magnetic jets. Such jets are also seen on active stars.

Last edited 26 days ago by beng135
William Astley
Reply to  Vuk
March 18, 2021 2:48 pm


So black holes, according to the big bang theory ‘power’ jets using gravity.

How do black holes make the quasar magnetic fields?

Odd that the jets out of the active galaxies have ‘knots’ in them that generate x-rays. What is the knot?

Knots is that astronomers call the strange bright x-ray emitting objects that rejected from the supermassive ‘black’ hole… in an ‘active’ galaxy.
Odd that the ‘cosmic’ microwave background is not isotropic.

The CMB has a cold spot and an axis of evil which is an axis which CMB anomalies all line up on.
“Extragalactic Radio Sources and the WMAP Cold spot” by Lawrence Rudnick, Shea Brown, Liliya Williams

Heck the cosmic microwave background radiation is not even hemispherically symmetrical.
Foreground Corrections

The naked eye can see the unexplained asymmetry in the CMB.

And the new telescopes have discovered high redshift galaxies that are big mature, that have bulges, that are organized, that look just like mature old galaxies in the nearby universe.

 comment image?w=500

The big bang theory assumes black holes active galaxies and quasars.

Odd that quasar emission is from particles moving through a magnetic field in a corkscrew manner, synchronous radiation,
And that magnetic field and the particles moving through it… if the quasar is far rather than near….

Emit as much radiation energy as 1000 Cd Elliptical galaxies.
Jets span distances of hundreds of kiloparsecs to megaparsecs and constitute the largest physical manifestation of the active galactic nucleus (AGN) phenomenon.
 However, fundamental questions about the nature of jets remain unanswered, while emission processes associated with the production of X-rays and [1] -rays are critical to understanding quasars.

(William: Our galaxy has a width of 30 kpc. These jets with knots that emitting x-rays are if the redshift distance was correct which it is not would be 300 kpc in length.)
The discovery of many X-ray jets over the past six years with the Chandra X-Ray Observatory (Chandra; Weisskopf et al. 2002) indicates that jets, in particular large-scale jets(>100kpc), are common (e.g., Schwartzet al. 2000; Marshall et al. 2001, 2005; Worrall et al. 2001; Sambruna et al. 2002, 2004; Siemiginowska et al. 2003a, 2003b).
The synchrotron origin of the radio-to-optical jet emission has now been well established. However, the origin of the jet X-ray emission is puzzling (see Harris & Krawczynski 2006 for a review), since a straight extrapolation of the synchrotron (radio to optical) continuum into the X-rays severely underpredicts the luminosity of powerful Chandra large-scale jets.
Thus, the same single power-law population of electrons cannot produce the radio, optical, and X-ray emission in the framework of a homogeneous one emission zone approximation (see, for example, Sambruna et al. 2004). The synchrotron self-Compton (SSC) process cannot easily explain the data because it does not produce enough X-rays at the equipartition fields and therefore requires large departures from the minimumpower condition (Chartas et al. 2000; Harris & Krawczynski 2002; Kataoka & Stawarz 2005). It was proposed that the X-rays from large-scale quasar jets might be associated with inverse

Reply to  William Astley
March 18, 2021 3:11 pm

… but do ‘black holes’ exist? Was ‘big bang’ a reality or a red shift back-extrapolation got out of control? After all this is a discussion blog not the RAS annual sojourn at Piccadilly.

William Astley
Reply to  Vuk
March 18, 2021 6:39 pm


I think I hear your question or is it a complaint.

Obviously the point of knowing something about the astronomical paradoxes as opposed to just talking about black holes…. Is the sun.
It is a fact, that there are geological observations, solar system observations, and astronomical observations that all support the assertion that the sun is a complex object, a stellar like object that was produced in a globural cluster.

Globural clusters are strange, tightly spaced, concentrations of star like objects. The stellar density in a globural cluster is similar to the stellar density at the center of the galaxy where there is massive ‘black’ hole.
About a decade it has discovered that there are multiple generation of star like objects in globural clusters and that the second generation was the majority (60%).

It is not possible to create the second generation of conventional stars in between the tightly packed first generation using in falling gas. It is also not possible using nuclear synthesis, to create the tight elemental relationship between first and second generation.

It is like a machine made the stars, And the machine has rules/structure. It is not a random gas falling into an globural cluster and that new gas made the younger majority stars that are found in the globural cluster.

And it has been found that all globural clusters that are older than 1 billion years have two populations of stars.

The globural clusters are made by something that sits in its center and shoots out star like objects and piles of gas.
A massive new set of globural clusters were created in both the Milky Way and Andromeda galaxies about a billion years ago. It is interesting that this is 12 billion years after the big bang. There is no gas hiding for 12 billion years and the clusters have a strange pattern.

Astronomers used Hubble’s Wide Field Camera 3 (WFC3) to observe four globular clusters in a small nearby galaxy known as the Fornax Dwarf Spheroidal Galaxy.
“We knew that the Milky Way’s clusters were more complex than was originally thought, and there are theories to explain why. But to really test our theories about how these clusters form, we needed to know what happened in other environments,” said Søren Larsen of Radboud University in Nijmegen, the Netherlands. “Before now, we didn’t know whether globular clusters in smaller galaxies had multiple generations or not, but our observations show clearly that they do!”
The astronomers’ detailed observations of the four Fornax clusters show that they also contain a second polluted population of stars and indicate that not only did they form in a similar way to one another, but their formation process is also similar to clusters in the Milky Way. Specifically, the astronomers used the Hubble observations to measure the amount of nitrogen in the cluster stars and found that about half of the stars in each cluster are polluted at the same level that is seen in Milky Way’s globular clusters.
Globular clusters — large balls of stars that orbit the centers of galaxies but can lie very far from them — remain one of the biggest cosmic mysteries. They were once thought to consist of a single population of stars that all formed together. However, research has since shown that many of the Milky Way’s globular clusters had far more complex formation histories and are made up of at least two distinct populations of stars.
Of these populations, around half the stars are a single generation of normal stars that were thought to form first, and the other half form a second generation of stars, which are polluted with different chemical elements. In particular, the polluted stars contain up to 50–100 times more nitrogen than the first generation of stars.

This high proportion of polluted second-generation stars means that the Fornax globular clusters’ formation should be covered by the same theory as those in the Milky Way.
Based on the number of polluted stars in these clusters, they would have to have been up to 10 times more massive in the past before kicking out huge numbers of their first generation stars and reducing to their current size. But, unlike the Milky Way, the galaxy that hosts these clusters doesn’t have enough old stars to account for the huge number that were supposedly banished from the clusters.
“If these kicked-out stars were there, we would see them, but we don’t!” said Frank Grundahl of Aarhus University in Denmark. “Our leading formation theory just can’t be right. There’s nowhere that Fornax could have hidden these ejected stars, so it appears that the clusters couldn’t have been so much larger in the past.”

Reply to  Vuk
March 18, 2021 10:01 pm

Your comments raise three central questions of cosmology-
(1) What is inside a black hole (which raises a query about these scientists weighing the Black Hole in Centaurus A),
(2) What are dark matter and dark energy?
(3) How did the Universe begin and what happened at the moment of the Big Bang ( assuming that theory is correct)?
As to (1),science doesn’t know but it is postulated that Black Holes are one of the great enigmas of the cosmos.
Some 96% of the universe consists of exotic substances we have never seen in a laboratory.
Dubbed “ Dark matter” and “ Dark Energy”, they are out there apparently, affecting space time yet strangely elusive and undetectable.
Einstein was never comfortable with the central concept of the dark hole: the gravitational singularity in which gravity can become so immense in a star that is in the process of collapsing into itself that space time becomes infinitely curved and as a consequence of this nothing can escape a black hole’s event horizon.
This is the boundary at which gravitational pull becomes large enough to drag light along with everything else back into the hole.
In 2014, Laura Mersini Houghton, associate Professor of Theoretical Physics at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill produced mathematical proof that black holes do not exist.
According to her work,as a star collapses under its own gravity and emits Hawking Radiation, it must also lose mass, and in doing so cannot reach the density required for a singularity and an event horizon to form.
Needless to say this has not gone down well with those who make a living studying black holes.
As to (2) we know even less about dark energy than dark matter, because it is thought unlikely to be associated with any particles.
The only experimental progress has been the building of more powerful telescopes in order to observe supernovae(and galaxies as here) in greater detail in the hope that this will provide us with more information.
A number of theoretical lines of research are being pursued including what is known as the cosmological constant.
This was originally proposed by Einstein in his equations for general relativity at a time when the universe was thought to be static, in order to provide a counter balance for gravity.
When the universe was shown to be expanding in the 1920s the constant was no longer required and Einstein described using it as his greatest mistake.
The cosmological constant provides a value for the energy density of the vacuum of space.
This had been presumed to be zero but since we have become aware of dark energy, the constant has been re- instated so that, though we don’t know what dark energy is,it is accounted for in general relativity.
As to (3),Science has no idea what preceded the Big Bang.
Stephen Hawking once famously remarked that asking what came before the Big Bang is like asking what is north of the North Pole.
In summary, the picture that cosmology is revealing borders on the bizarre.
It seems we know far less of the universe than we originally thought.
In November 1783, a letter written by the Reverend John Michell rector of the small town of Thornhill in Yorkshire was read out at the Royal Society in London.
In the letter, Michel set out his up ideas concerning what he described as dark stars,which were based on Isaac Newton’s theory of gravity and corpuscular theory of light.
He calculated the size of gravitational pull that a star would need to exert in order to prevent light from reaching its required escape velocity,so that,rather than being emitted, the light is dragged back and the star becomes invisible.
Michell anticipated Albert Einstein’s thoughts about gravity’s effect on light by more than a century.
(h/t “Unsolved Science” by Bill Price and “The Perfect Theory” by P.G. Ferreira).

Loren C. Wilson
March 18, 2021 4:30 am

Using Kepler’s Law to measure the mass of the central black hole is fine but we can’t explain why we get a different result when we use a different set of stars to do so. Hence the proposal of dark matter.

Jack Morrow
March 18, 2021 5:36 am

Thought nothing including light could escape a black hole. Maybe they should call it something else. Maybe they really don’t know what it is.

Reply to  Jack Morrow
March 18, 2021 5:58 am

Well sort of. When Einstein published his ToR, a German mathematician called Schwarzschild was sitting in a trench on the Russian front.
Somehow got hold of AE’s paper (within just few weeks of publishing) and he set calculating. He found that there is a radius from centre of a super-massive body where the escape velocity is higher than speed of light known as the Schwarzschild radius, now better known as the event horizon surrounding a non-rotating super-massive body. However rotating body has somewhat different properties, including accretion disk. What is inside even the God may not know.
Things are not escaping the ‘black hole'( except Hawkins radiation) things are escaping from or near accretion disk surrounding so called BH

Last edited 26 days ago by Vuk
Reply to  Jack Morrow
March 18, 2021 10:34 am

Actually, matter can escape in the form of protons. Matter can escape whereas light cannot because a proton can gain kinetic energy greater than its total rest mass energy, in other words, greater than the maximum energy that gravity can exert on it. A proton can gain enough energy from the interior of the black hole to escape.

Tom in Florida
Reply to  guard4her
March 18, 2021 12:07 pm

I thought I had heard them all. Apparently I am wrong.
What makes you think the physics that we know in our world remains the same inside a black hole?

Curious George
Reply to  guard4her
March 18, 2021 12:28 pm

“a proton can gain kinetic energy greater than its total rest mass energy”
“in other words, greater than the maximum energy that gravity can exert on it”

Reply to  Curious George
March 18, 2021 1:26 pm

Proton can gain energy by increasing its velocity, but in the process its mass increases too (& gravitation force). Protons would be ‘diving’ unto the accretion disk at velocities approaching speed of light. Collision of protons at such velocities produces W bosons. Negative W boson turn proton into neutron, while +W turns neutron into proton.comment image
Here weak force comes into action starting fusion, same process as in stars, as I mentioned in my opening comment.

Last edited 26 days ago by Vuk
Reply to  Curious George
March 18, 2021 5:52 pm

Velocity does not vary linearly in a Fermi or any other statistical distribution. The protons can escape at around .68C velocity.

Peta of Newark
March 18, 2021 6:10 am

Comment #6
am in total agreement with 1 thro 5

Blacks Holes are energetic nonsense – just like the GHGE
Similar nonsense to ‘magnetic’ neutron stars – neutrons are The Very Last Things anyone could expect to be magnetic.
‘cept NASA obviously repeatedly

What we do see here, is a couple of hyper excited girls ## (it seems that ‘super massive size’ does matter wink wink) but Utter Complete Blinkered Confirmation Bias and Junk Non-Science

They are going there in the full expectation of seeing & finding a Black Hole and that is exactly what they will see and find

Something insanely interesting might be, probably is, going on in there but these muppetesses are not going to expect to see it or even actually see or acknowledge it if it jumped up and bit their backsides.

Innit just the same inside Climate Science

## That is lovely and nice to see though. if boys were put on this Earth to do anything, they could do a lot worse than to: Make Girls Happy
well done ‘somebody’ inside NASA

Last edited 26 days ago by Peta of Newark
Michael S. Kelly
Reply to  Peta of Newark
March 19, 2021 5:03 am

Um, neutrons actually have a magnetic dipole moment,

Jus’ sayin’…

Tom Abbott
March 18, 2021 7:22 am

I look forward to NASA getting this telescope in orbit.

In the future, we need to put telescopes at various Lagrangian points, network them and make ourselves a *really* big telescope.

Reply to  Tom Abbott
March 18, 2021 9:58 am

Finally. Years late and billions over budget.

Tom in Florida
Reply to  Rud Istvan
March 18, 2021 12:08 pm

I would say par for government work.

Rick C
March 18, 2021 8:36 am

Somewhat OT, but a Brazilian researcher has published a paper that brings the existence of “dark matter” into question. Seems that you don’t need it to explain the rotation of galaxies if your use a General Relativity frame of reference rather than Newtonian.

Reply to  Rick C
March 18, 2021 3:47 pm

I strongly suspect ‘dark matter’ is a gravity goof, but dunno how or why. When you look for a supposed something for decades based on just one ‘observation’—that galaxy rotation cannot be explained by Newtonian physics so you need to add extra gravity, hence dark matter— and it is not there either theoretically or observationally otherwise, maybe it really isn’t there and our physics understanding needs some revision.
Analogy is the Aether theory of space explaining electromagnetic wave propagation, disproven by Michelson Morley, showing our then ‘understanding’ of EM waves was faulty.

March 18, 2021 10:10 am

Centaurus A has always been fascinating. A fairly (still) active & quite nearby elliptical obviously recently merged w/a spiral, One has to wonder how many, if any, civilizations were destroyed by the merging & subsequent central black hole’s violent activity. Its black hole is far larger than either the Milky Way’s or Andromeda’s, or even those 2 combined.

Last edited 26 days ago by beng135
Tom in Florida
March 18, 2021 12:11 pm

“but astronomers lost interest until the 1950s because the galaxy appeared to be a quiet, if misshapen, elliptical galaxy. Once researchers were able to begin observing with radio telescopes in the 1940s and ’50s, Centaurus A became radically more interesting – and its jets came into view.”

A prime example of you don’t know what you don’t know until you have the ability to know it.

March 18, 2021 12:17 pm

But by switching to X-ray and radio light views,

FFS, kids used to be able to go to NASA to learn science. Now NASA is adopting child-like misusage of terms which will then get repeated and claimed to be correct “because NASA says radio light”.

I won’t bother reading the rest of an article the author of which does not even know what light is. What other BS are they likely to feed me, which I will foolishly repeat?

Last edited 26 days ago by Greg
Reply to  Greg
March 18, 2021 8:42 pm

To repeat:

Astronomers’ light is any electromagnetic radiation. That is why they distinguish what the human eye can see as “visible” light.

Not quite as jarring to the users of non-astronomy English as calling every element with three or more protons in the nucleus “metals.”

You have managed to exhibit your ignorance TWICE now – and I’m not even done reading the comment threads.

William Astley
March 18, 2021 12:25 pm

Ejection from a black hole? Ejection from active galaxies? Ejection for a quasar?

I see that someone above has repeated the big bang rhetoric… the big bang theory of magic magnetic fields which black holes can create at will.

How does a black hole make a super powerful magnetic field? How does a quasar create a super, super, super, super, ,super…. …. factor of 12 magnetic field?

Black holes are a theoretical concept that the big bang theory developed.

Observational there is no evidence to support the concept that there are ‘black’ holes in reality and/or that a black hole can explain a quasar for example.
It is a fact, that there are mysterious complex active objects, in astronomy that have the capability of producing unbelievable strong magnetic fields.
And there is evidence that from time to time, these complex objects ejected gas and dust and solid stuff which itself produces a super massive magnetic field.
About 25 years ago a German astronomer, Halton Arp, discovered that the core of multiple active ‘active’ galaxies, had from time to time, ejected a quasar out of the poles of the active galaxy, in question.

Quasar is the name given, to an object that does not have a galaxy attached to it that produces synchronous radiation.

Charged particles move through the quasar’s magnetic field in a cork shaped path, producing synchronous radiation.

The quasar’s synchronous radiation heats the ions in the gas which the quasar ejects to around the quasar to about 10 million kelvins.

One of the weird paradoxes about quasars is their quasar spectrum does not change with redshift as predicted by the big bang theory.

For example, there is the same amount of iron in high redshift quasars, spectrum, as there are quasars in the near universe. Logically there should be less iron surround the quasar at high redshift.

The problem is the big bang theory cannot explain the spectrum of one quasar. Cannot make the magnetic field. Cannot distributed the gas.
A quasar if redshift is used to determine its distance from earth … Produces as much radiation energy as 1000 of the largest galaxies in the universe, the Cd ellipticals which there is one of in the center of every galaxy cluster. 

Halton Arp found a simple observational paradox concerning active galaxies. 

Quasar are rare astronomical objects (hundreds of thousands). Active galaxies are rare.

Why would there be quasar pairs above and below active galaxies some with clouds of gas pointing in the ejection of the quasar?
One of the active galaxies is also ‘radio’ active. Radioactive emit a massive amount of radiation in the radio frequency band. This requires massive current movement on long a line. There is an observed line of radio emission point in the direction of the ejected quasar.
The big bang theory is in crisis.

It has been found that there are mature high red-shift galaxies. Based on the big bang theory high redshift galaxies should not be mature.
High redshift galaxies should not be large. High redshift galaxies should not have bulges which appear to take tens of billions of years to form.
Portrait of young galaxy throws theory of galaxy formation on its head Scientists have challenged our current understanding of how galaxies form by unveiling pictures of a young galaxy in the early life of the Universe which appears surprisingly mature.
 Scientists peer 12 billion years into the past to reveal distant galaxy with an unexpected appearanceThe result was one of the sharpest, direct images of a primordial galaxy ever produced which allowed the team to undertake a detailed study of its internal structure.
“We discovered that a massive bulge, a regular rotating disk, and possibly spiral arms were already in place in this galaxy when the Universe was just 10% of its current age,” said lead author of the study Dr Federico Lelli, who undertook the work at Cardiff University’s School of Physics and Astronomy.
“In other words, this galaxy looks like a grown adult, but it should be just a little child.”

Reply to  William Astley
March 19, 2021 10:33 am

Like alot of your posts, much of it is complete nonsense.

William Astley
Reply to  beng135
March 19, 2021 1:00 pm

Hi, beng135
Observational paradoxes control science. Not theory.

I think you miss the point. What I say is absolutely in agreement with the observations.

There is a super big breakthrough at the level of concepts in astronomy.

The concept that there was a big bang 13.7 billion years ago and that created all of the atoms in the universe has been proven to be in correct by observations.

The big bang theory logical pillars have all been proven incorrect, by simple in your face unequivocal observations, not by theory.

For example, the signal that was assumed to be the big bang cosmic microwave background radiation has been found to be not isotropic.

There is a cold spot in the ‘CMB’, there is an axis of evil in the ‘CMB’, and the CMB signal is not spherically symmetrical.

There is more power emitted, from the 2.7 k signal, from the one hemisphere than the other. And the difference in energy appears to be due to the Milky Way’s orientation.

For 15 years…. Astronomy has been analyzing the 2.7 k signal… Why? What did we find?

When it was discovered that the 2.7 k signal, not isotropic and there was no scientific astronomical explanation for the anomalies….. in the signal.

A second expensive, specialized satellite was designed, built, and launched to remeasure the 2.7k signal again…

… to ensure the observational paradoxes which prove the 2.7k signal is not cosmic were not caused by a mistake in satellite design to measure the 2.7 k signal.

As most lay people are aware.

The analysis of the 2.7 K signal gives a Hubble expansion number that does not agree with five independent other methods of measuring the Hubble expansion. There is no scientific explanation for the difference in Hubble expansion numbers. Only one can be correct.

Logically from the observations astronomy knows from the observations, that the CMB Is not a cosmic signal. It is a measurement of the temperature of dust that has been found to surround galaxies.

In fact, the dust that surrounds our galaxy has been found to absorb radiation at 2.7 k.

So because it has been found that all galaxies are surrounded by dust…. There should be a strong dust extinction observed in the CMB signal if it is cosmic in origin which it is not.

Missing dust signature in the cosmic microwave background 

I examine a possible spectral distortion of the Cosmic Microwave Background (CMB) due to its absorption by galactic and intergalactic dust.
I show that even subtle intergalactic opacity of 1 × 10 −7 mag h Gpc −1 at the CMB wavelengths in the local Universe causes non-negligible CMB absorption and decline of the CMB intensity because the opacity steeply increases with redshift.
The CMB should be distorted even during the epoch of the Universe defined by redshifts z < 10.
The CMB would be distorted also in a perfectly transparent universe due to dust in galaxies but this effect is lower by one order than that due to intergalactic opacity.
The fact that the distortion of the CMB by dust is not observed is intriguing and questions either opacity and extinction law measurements or validity of the current model of the Universe.

As I said because astronomy can now ‘see’ high redshift dusty objects it has been found that the high redshift universe…

Has mature galaxies that have bulges that appear to take tens of billions of year to develop. These high redshift galaxies are impossibly old and large ….. from the perspective of the big bang theory.

This paper discusses the impossibly early galaxy problem.

There is also an impossibly large high redshift supermassive black hole problem and an impossibly bright galaxy problem.


The most important discovery in astronomy is that globural clusters, that is found in every galaxy including high redshift galaxies have complex machine like/rule-based structures…
And it is physically impossible to create the complex structure found in all globural clusters using a cosmic system … That creates stuff using infalling gas and nucleosynthesis to explain the element changes.

Atoms have rule-based structure. Atoms are sort of machine like. That is what our science is based on.

Astronomy has discovered a rule based ‘substance’ that creates atoms and ejects small pieces of that substance.


The multiple population in globural clusters and the discover of globural clusters at in the outer regions of the Milky Way and Andromeda galaxy disc….

A critical assessment of models for the origin of multiple populations in globular clusters

We conclude that none of the proposed scenarios can explain the multiple population phenomenon, hence alternative theories are needed.

Multiple populations are now established as a near-ubiquitous property of globular clusters in the Galaxy (e.g., Gratton et al. 2012) as well as within nearby galaxies where their GCs can be resolved into individual stars (Mucciarelli et al. 2011; Larsen et al. 2012).

Thomas Edwardson
Reply to  William Astley
March 20, 2021 7:49 pm

Oh my. Be careful. You are standing on the doorstep of Heresy.
Halton Arp was an AMERICAN astronomer, born in New York, educated at Harvard and Caltech, and worked at the Mount Wilson and Palomar Observatories. He followed in the footsteps of Edwin Hubble, studying redshifted objects in some detail across many wavelengths using every instrument he could get time on, eventually publishing the “Atlas of Peculiar Galaxies”, “The Redshift Controversy”, “Quasars, Redshifts and Controversies”, “Seeing Red”, and “Catalog of Discordant Redshift Associations”.
Halton destroyed the Redshift=Distance paradigm by observationally tying together lines of quasars straddling a central galaxies, where it is apparent that the quasars have been ejected from the central galaxy. The central galaxy has an arbitrary Redshift. The quasars have plus and minus Redshifts that are … quantized … appear in discrete intervals that are always the same … like the energy levels in the orbits of the electron. The quantized values are found by subtracting out the Redshift of the central galaxy, and the quantized values just pop out and are always the same. (That sameness should indicate that Redshift is a fundamental property of matter that changes as the matter ages, or gains mass.)
Ergo, Redshift does not equal distance. Ouch. Everything in Big Bang cosmology is dependent on that yardstick. The Universe is not expanding without it. Black holes do not exist without it. But this is Heresy according to his peers, who all learned their PHDs from somebody who learned it from somebody who learned it from somebody who got it wrong in the beginning.  
And what does the Orthodoxy do to Heretics? Like Galileo Galilei before him, they took Halton’s telescope(s) away. And when he would not recant, they denied him employment. Halton eventually found a home at the Max Planck Institute in Germany where he continued his work (which is why you think he was German).
If you want to hear him in his own words …
It is interesting that a quasar has never been caught transiting between Redshift values. The entire structure changes at once, in violation of the propagation of a signal faster than the speed of light.

March 18, 2021 5:02 pm

More you think about it the more likely it seems that the universe is some type of computer simulation. The speed of light limit could be analogous to the cpu clock speed and odd things like twin paradox similar to running a faster thread vs a slower thread and re synchronizing the threads later. The wave function collapsing seems like maybe trying to read memory outside the process. Gravity I have no ideas about. Seems it could relate to information some how.

Michael S. Kelly
March 18, 2021 10:11 pm

If the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) is ever launched, and if the launch is successful, and if the telescope actually unfolds itself in the most complicated manner ever attempted for a spacecraft…then, yes, we will get some incredible insights. But JWST was been in the works for 26 years, and its cost has gone from an estimated $500 million to $9.66 billion. It will be launched on the Ariane 5, which has a very good track record – but no launch vehicle is perfect, so there is always a finite chance of loss of mission. The spacecraft itself must reach an L2 Lagrange point, millions of miles away, and then perform a reconfiguration the likes of which has never been attempted. It will be a nail-biter. I can’t give odds on an outcome, because I’m not close enough to it. My wife did the pulse-tube cryocooler thermal vacuum qualification tests for Northrop Grumman, when she worked there, and has high hopes for the mission. And NASA has done some amazingly good work in the past 20 years on very difficult projects, especially the Mars landers using the skycrane system (which had never been tested as an all-up system).

With luck, it will work. But I don’t know how sustainable the model of a program spanning a large portion of an entire average career really is. I can only imagine someone who got on board JWST as a Masters graduate right at the beginning, and watching it launch on Halloween of this year, at age (probably) 50, wondering if he or she will have a plus or a minus on their resume.

This is probably the highest “pucker factor” mission in NASA history.

March 19, 2021 3:40 am

Discussing cosmology is a bit of fun. Life is a serious matter, ‘nebulous’ cosmology not as much.

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