Centaurus A (NGC 4128) strongly resembles an elliptical galaxy, yet displays a broad dust lane - a feature common to spiral galaxies. This is likely the result of the merger of galaxies.
Observations of Centaurus A from radio telescopes and other instruments suggest that the galaxy harbors a supermassive black hole in its center. In falling matter from the recent merger gets caught up in intense magnetic fields that surround the black hole and are then accelerated back into space. The galaxy is located just 10 million light years from our Milky Way galaxy, making it the closest such active galaxy.
This is a vintage photograph taken using the Palomar Observatory's 200-inch. The image was recorded on a glass photographic plate coated with an emulsion of film.