NGC 4261 -- Elliptical Galaxy in Virgo
A Galaxy that has Jets
I finished my April 2nd morning observing period with the most interesting galaxy of the night.
True, it did not show its impressive features through the 155mm refractor, but just knowing they
were there made it worthwhile.
NGC 4261 has an active galactic nucleus powered by a massive black hole equal to the mass
of 400-million times that of our sun. Most of the few galaxies that have such massive black
holes no longer have the amount of material falling into them to keep them as active as NGC
4261. But the in-fall of gas, dust and stars into this galaxy’s colossal black hole results in
massive jets of material and energy that is rarely seen. These jets, that extend 88,000 light
years above and below the galaxy, are visible in the Hubble Space Telescope and other large
This massive power emanating from the core of this galaxy, so hidden from my view, still
sparks the imagination and adds to the enjoyment of seeing its soft glow in the eyepiece.