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Newly discovered giant galaxies dwarf the Milky Way

Astronomers found the two galaxies in new radio maps that were created using the MeerKAT radio telescope in South Africa.

Radio galaxies, which can be quite common, are brightest in radio wavelengths of light. Centaurus A is a well-known radio galaxy to astronomers. It’s the fifth brightest galaxy in the sky and is about 12 million light-years from Earth.

Centaurus A features a supermassive black hole at its center, which releases powerful jets that flow perpendicularly to the galaxy’s disk — a common structure for radio galaxies.

This composite image shows the Centaurus A galaxy in visible, microwave (orange) and X-ray (blue) light. Long jets expand out from the galaxy’s central black hole on either side.Giant radio galaxies, however, are more rare and have jets that exceed 22 times the size of our Milky Way galaxy. The Milky Way is a barred spiral galaxy, which is also fairly common, and looks like it sounds: a spiral-shaped galaxy with a central bar-shaped structure made of stars.Now, astronomers have found two giant radio galaxies in a rather small patch of sky.

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