The Andromeda galaxy's active core (artist's impression)

This artist's concept shows a view across a mysterious disk of young, blue stars encircling a supermassive black hole at the core of the neighboring Andromeda Galaxy (M31). The region around the black hole is barely visible at the center of the disk. The background stars are the typical older, redder population of stars that inhabit the cores of most galaxies. Spectroscopic observations by the Hubble Space Telescope reveal that the blue light consists of more than 400 stars that formed in a burst of activity about 200 million years ago. The stars are tightly packed in a disk that is only a light-year across. Under the black hole's gravitational grip, the stars are traveling very fast: 2.2 million miles an hour (3.6 million kilometers an hour, or 1,000 kilometers a second).


NASA, ESA and A. Schaller (for STScI)

About the Image

Release date:20 September 2005, 19:00
Related releases:heic0512
Size:5000 x 3750 px

About the Object

Name:Andromeda Galaxy, Messier 31, NGC 224
Type:Local Universe : Galaxy : Component : Center/Core
Distance:2 million light years

Image Formats

Large JPEG
11.6 MB
Screensize JPEG
845.8 KB


Also see our

Accelerated by CDN77