Radio/Optical overlay radio galaxy 3C31

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About this Image

This image shows the optical and radio morphology of the radio galaxy 3C31 (NGC 383), the dominant galaxy of a prominent chain of galaxies. In this image, red colors depict radio emission measured with the VLA, and blue colors depict the optical emission from starlight. This system is a powerful radio source, with conical inner jets developing into wiggling jets and irregularly shaped plumes, which stretch to a distance of 300 kpc from the center of the galaxy (980,000 light years, for a Hubble constant of 100 km/s/Mpc). The left-hand image shows the large-scale morphology of the radio jet and the surrounding optical field (optical image from the Digitized Sky Survey), while the right-hand image shows the center of the galaxy with its conical radio jets. The optical image is an HST WFPC2 image, and shows prominent dust features in the host galaxy. The radio emission is due to relativistic streams of high energy particles generated by the radio source at the center of the radio galaxy. Astronomers believe that the jets are fueled by material accreting onto a super-massive black hole. The high energy particles are shot into extragalactic space at speeds approaching the speed of light, where they eventually balloon into massive radio plumes.

Investigator(s):  Alan Bridle & Robert Laing. HST image from Martel et al. 1999, ApJS, 122, 81

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Technical Data

    Telescope VLA 
    Date of Observation 1998-00-00 
    Type of Observation Continuum Observations 
    Band X 
    Wavelength 3.6 cm 
    Frequency 8.4 GHz 
    Center of Image RA: 01:07:24.96, Dec: 32:24:45.20 (J2000)  
    Field of View 0.2000 x 0.4000 degrees  
    Technical Caption The left-hand image is a VLA 21cm image at 5.5 arcsec resolution superposed on Digitized Palomar Sky Survey E print. The right-hand image is a VLA 3.6cm radio image at 0.25 arcsec resolution superposed on Hubble Space Telescope WFPC2 image. This galaxy is a FR I (plumed) radio galaxy at z=0.0169 (51/h Mpc, H = 100h km/s/Mpc), and has a dusty elliptical host galaxy.  

  • Astronomical database entries for 3C31
    • Query NED for images of 3C31
    • Query SIMBAD for more 3C31 data


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