Behold: the ancient, spectacular fender-bender of NGC 5128, aka Centaurus A, our closest active galaxy – a mere 11 light years away. To wt:

…the peculiar elliptical galaxy is over 60,000 light-years across. A region spanning about 8,500 light-years, including the galaxy’s center (upper left), is framed in this sharp Hubble Space telescope close-up. Centaurus A is apparently the result of a collision of two otherwise normal galaxies resulting in a violent jumble of star forming regions, massive star clusters, and imposing dark dust lanes. Near the galaxy’s center, left over cosmic debris is steadily being consumed by a central black hole with a billion times the mass of the Sun. As in other active galaxies, that process likely generates the radio, X-ray, and gamma-ray energy radiated by Centaurus A.

(Image: NASA, ESA, Hubble Heritage (STScI/ AURA)-ESA/Hubble Collaboration)

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