Swirling Gas Disk around Black Hole in Galaxy NGC 4450

The nearby spiral galaxy NGC 4450 is one of the galaxies in which Hans-Walter Rix and collaborators have identified a supermassive black hole. The picture reveals nothing unusual in the galaxy centre. Yet, the group of astronomers have measured wildly rotating gas in a disk around the centre of the galaxy with the STIS instrument onboard Hubble (illustrated in the upper left corner). There the gas is moving thirty times faster than anywhere else in the galaxy. This gas rotation centred on the black hole is illustrated with colours. Red is receding gas and blue is approaching gas. These colours correspond to the physical effect of Doppler shift also known as redshift in astronomy.

The image of NGC 4450 was gathered with another of Hubbles instruments, WFPC2. The image is a chromatic composite of two individual exposures in blue-green light and in red light.


ESA HEIC/Hans-Walter Rix

About the Image

Release date:5 June 2000, 15:00
Related releases:heic0002
Size:2400 x 2445 px

About the Object

Name:NGC 4450
Type:Local Universe : Galaxy : Type : Spiral
Local Universe : Galaxy : Component : Central Black Hole
Distance:55 million light years

Image Formats

Large JPEG
1.4 MB
Screensize JPEG
220.7 KB

Print Layout

Screensize JPEG
102.9 KB

Colours & filters

555 nm Hubble Space Telescope
814 nm Hubble Space Telescope

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