Artist's impression of Cygnus A

SOFIA Observations of Cygnus A


Artist’s impression 

Cygnus A, surrounded by a torus of dust and debris with jets launching from its center. Magnetic fields are illustrated as thin ribbons trapping the dust. Cygnus A is the closest and most powerful active galaxy, the perfect candidate to study the role magnetic fields play in confining the tori of the unified model, channeling material into supermassive black holes and launching jets at relativistic speeds. 

SOFIA observed the central 20 pc of Cygnus A with the HAWC+ instrument at 53 and 89 μm and an angular resolution of 5 and 9 arcseconds. These observations are sensitive to temperatures of 30–50 K and show highly polarized infrared emission dominated by a well-aligned dusty structure.

NASA/SOFIA/Lynette Cook
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