Cygnus A (Galaxy 3C 405)

Location:  Constellation Cygnus
Coordinates:  19 59 28.356 +40 44 02.097
Accepted distance: 600,000,000 ly

Mainstream description
Active galaxy that appears as a banded supergiant elliptical galaxy in optical wavelengths (yellow). However, it is the third strongest radio source in the entire sky and the brightest extragalactic object in radio wavelengths (red).  These radio waves are being emitted by two long, thin jets of particles extending a distance of some 300,000 light years from the center of the elliptical galaxy.  These jets are accelerating at relativistic speeds away from a supermassive black hole at the center of the galaxy.  This black hole is a billion times heavier than the Sun.  Matter falling into the black hole is ejected via the jets which energize the surrounding gas causing it to emit X-rays (blue) particularly from the bright lobes on the opposing ends of the jets.

Alternative description
A rotating galactic-scale magnetic field powered by two or more enormously powerful extragalactic electric currents accelerates charged particles to subluminal speeds in opposite directions.  These opposing jets of plasma emit synchrotron radiation in the form of radio waves and X-rays.  The object’s high redshift is due to photons traveling through a hot, sparse electron plasma.

Cygnus A (Galaxy 3C 405)Shannon Sims