This galaxy has a familiar shape... Image Credit: NRAO
This remarkable new image really does show a galaxy far, far away - 500 million light years away to be exact.
Situated in the Cassiopeia constellation, this distant galaxy, which bears more than a passing resemblance to an Imperial TIE fighter from the Star Wars franchise, owes its unusual appearance to a supermassive black hole at its center which is bellowing out two huge jets of energy on either side.
Known formally as TXS 0128+554, the galaxy was observed by the Very Long Baseline Array (VLBA) as well as by NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory.
"It's classified as an active galaxy, which means all its stars together can't account for the amount of light it emits," the space agency wrote in a release on its website.
"An active galaxy's extra energy includes excess radio, X-ray, and gamma-ray light."
"Scientists think this emission arises from regions near its central black hole, where a swirling disk of gas and dust accumulates and heats up because of gravitational and frictional forces."