Messier 106 : 1995-2003

Photograph by

Robert Gendler

About this image

A composite of space - and ground - based images reveal the grand structure of spiral galaxy Messier 106. M106 is a so-called Seyfert galaxy, one with an exceptionally bright core harbouring a supermassive black hole. The careful choice of filters allows us to see the tenuous ‘anomalous arms’ (red), vast sweeps of gas heated to millions of degrees, energised when matter falls into the central black hole. This frame spans about 500,000 light years. Also known as NGC 4258, M106 is found about 23.5 million light years from Earth in the constellation Canes Venatici. This image was created by combining data from the Hubble Space Telescope with ground-based imagery taken by the photographer and Jay GaBany. Robert Gendler Astronomy, Avon, Connecticut, USA.