Purple Robes for Hercules
The Hercules A galaxy reveals its superpowered core in an image captured by NASA's Chandra X-ray space telescope. Lavender and blue superheated gas clouds, meanwhile, swath its center.
In visible light, the galaxy some two billion light-years away looks like an ellipse. Researchers can only see the luminous core at the heart of Hercules A with x-rays.
Astronomers suspect that the galaxy holds a supermassive black hole that is actively devouring stars and other stellar material. (See: "Black Hole: Star Eater" in National Geographic magazine.)
—By Dan Vergano, photo gallery by Mallory Benedict