Hercules A

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Not to be confused with Hercules (dwarf galaxy) .

Coordinates: Sky map 16h 51m 08.15s, +04° 59′ 33.32″

Hercules A
A Multi-Wavelength View of Radio Galaxy Hercules A.jpg
Visible light image obtained by Hubble superposed with a radio image taken by the VLA.
Observation data (J2000 epoch)
Constellation Hercules
Right ascension 16h 51m 08.15s
Declination +04° 59′ 33.32″
Distance 2100 Mly
(643.9 mpc)
Other designations
Herc A , 3C 348
See also: Galaxy, List of galaxies

Hercules A is an active galaxy in the constellation Hercules.[1] Hercules A, the galaxy at the image center, appears to be a relatively normal elliptical galaxy in visible light. When imaged in radio waves, however, plasma jets over one million light years long appear. Detailed analyses indicate that the central galaxy, also known as 3C 348, is actually over 1,000 times more massive (approx. 1015 solar masses) than our Milky Way Galaxy, and the central black hole is nearly 1,000 times more massive (approx. 4 billion solar masses) than the black hole at our Milky Way's center, one of the largest known. The physics that creates the jets is poorly understood, with a likely energy source being matter infalling toward the central black hole.[2]


  1. ^ "A Multi-Wavelength View of Radio Galaxy Hercules A". NASA. 
  2. ^ Plasma Jets from Radio Galaxy Hercules A at NASA Astronomy Picture of the Day. Portions of this public domain text are used here.