Featured Image: An Active Past for a Milky-Way Twin?

What would the Milky Way look like if the supermassive black hole at its center was a little more active? This stunning HST/WFC3 image of NGC 6744, spanning 160” x 160” (click for the whole view), may provide us with a reasonable guess! NGC 6744 is a nearby galaxy that’s morphologically very similar to our own — with the exception of the presence of an apparent low-luminosity active galactic nucleus at its center. The image to the right is a 10” x 10” zoom-in on the core of this galaxy, which was recently studied with the Gemini South Multi-Object Spectrograph by a team of scientists led by Patrícia da Silva (University of São Paulo, Brazil). The authors’ observations suggest that this galaxy’s nucleus was more luminous in the past — perhaps as a result of a merger — and has now settled down. For more information, check out the article below.


Patrícia da Silva et al 2018 ApJ 861 83. doi:10.3847/1538-4357/aac6e3