National Astronomical Observatory of Japan

Center of the Barred Spiral Galaxy NGC 1097


Center of the Barred Spiral Galaxy NGC 1097

This is the center of the barred spiral galaxy NGC 1097 imaged by ALMA and the Hubble Space Telescope. In this image, the movement of HCN (hydrogen cyanide) molecules as captured with ALMA is depicted by the color gradation from red to purple. ALMA’s observations clearly show us that, unlike the stars, the gas is distributed in the center and in a surrounding ring. The observations even show us the speed of that gas. Seeing what can be read from information-rich data gives researchers a chance to flex their intellectual muscles.

Text by: Masaaki Hiramatsu (NAOJ Chile Observatory)

Visible Evidence of an Invisible Black Hole

A supermassive black hole exists at the center of almost all galaxies; its gravity pulls on the stars of the galaxy. Because it is an object that can’t be observed directly, it is very important to measure the black hole’s most fundamental physical property, its mass. Our research team used ALMA to measure the rotational velocity of the gas in the center of the galaxy. From those dynamics we were able to calculate the mass of the black hole that must be located at the galactic center. ALMA’s high sensitivity allows us to elucidate new scientific truths like these one after another. Please keep watching ALMA for more discoveries.

Text by: Kyoko Onishi (Ehime University, Research Center for Space and Cosmic Evolution)

Translations by: Ramsey Lundock (NAOJ)

Image Data

ObjectNGC 1097
TelescopeALMA / Hubble Space Telescope


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