Hubble Space Telescope captures an active galaxy that shines with forbidden light

The Advanced Camera for Surveys (ACS) of Hubble Space Telescope has captured an active spiral galaxy known as MCG-01-24-014. NASA/ESA released the image of the active spiral galaxy MCG-01-24-014 on December 18, 2023.

Two filters with wavelengths of 555 nm (visible band) and 814 nm (infrared band) are combined to produce the image of MCG-01-24-014.

The Hubble Space Telescope captured an active spiral galaxy, MCG-01-24-014
View larger. The Hubble Space Telescope captured an active spiral galaxy, MCG-01-24-014, located in the constellation Hydra. (Image credit: ESA/Hubble & NASA, C. Kilpatrick)

The galaxy MCG-01-24-014 is located about 275 million light-years away from Earth in the constellation Hydra. Here MCG stands for the “Morphological Catalogue of Galaxies”.

The galaxy MCG-01-24-014 hosts an active supermassive black hole at its center, which consumes material (gas and dust) and emits electromagnetic radiation across the entire electromagnetic spectrum, from radio waves to gamma rays.

This electromagnetic radiation is so luminous that it can outshine the rest of the galaxy altogether and the extremely luminous central region of the galaxy is known as an active galactic nucleus (AGN).

As the galaxy MCG-01-24-014 contains an active galactic nucleus (AGN) that’s why it’s called an active galaxy.

The most interesting fact is that it is a Type-2 Seyfert galaxy that emits ‘forbidden’ light. A Seyfert galaxy is a nearby active galaxy where the whole host galaxy is seen alongside its central AGN.

Forbidden emission lines can’t be seen here on Earth due to quantum physics under normal conditions, where the gases are denser. However, in space, it is possible to shine a galaxy with the ‘forbidden’ light where the density of the gases is very low.

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Ashim

Ashim Chandra Sarkar founded Space & Telescope in 2022. He holds a M.Sc. in physics and has five years of research experience in optical astronomy. His passion for astronomy inspired him to open this website. He is responsible for the editorial vision of spaceandtelescope.com.

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