The radio source Cygnus A is produced in a galaxy some 600 million light-years away. The radio waves are coming from electrons propelled at nearly the speed of light through a long, thin "jet" at the core of the galaxy and deposited in giant "radio lobes." It is here where the speeding electrons are trapped by the magnetic field around the galaxy to produce radio waves much like the Van Allen radiation belts around the Earth. Where did all the electrons come from? From the bright, small radio component in the center of the galaxy -- the location of a black hole.
5 GHz, 0.5'' resolution. The galaxy is at a redshift of 0.057 (distance = 230 Mpc = 760 Mly).
Legacy Astronomical Images
NRAO/AUI/NSF does not hold full copyright for this image. Contact the archivist for details.
Legacy Astronomical Image
R. Perley, C. Carilli, J. Dreher
Very Large Array (VLA)
Type of Observation
Center of Image
RA 19:59:28.450, Dec: 40:44:2.000
Field of View
0.038300 x 0.021700 degrees
Contact the archivist for a high resolution tif of this image.
Active Galactic Nuclei Series
Radio Galaxies Unit
Legacy Astronomical Images, “Cygnus A,” NRAO Archives, accessed December 3, 2021, https://www.nrao.edu/archives/items/show/33386.