Pictor A (Galaxy ESO 252-18)

Location:  Constellation Pictor
Coordinates:  05 19 08.677 -43 09 30.59
Accepted distance: ~500,000,000 ly

Mainstream description
This galaxy contains a supermassive black hole in its center.  Huge amounts of gravitational energy are released by material spiraling in toward the black hole generating two enormous jets of particles travelling at almost the speed of light.  These jets continually emit X-rays (blue) and extend 300,000 light years from the center of the galaxy.  The end of each jet heats up the surrounding gas causing them to form lobes that emit radio waves (red) and hotspots that emit X-rays like the jets.  The X-ray emission of the jets is synchrotron radiation generated by electrons spiraling around magnetic field lines.  How the field lines are maintained and the electrons continuously re-accelerated is not well understood.

Alternative description
Two galactic-scale Birkeland currents twisted around one another and formed a Z-pinch.  This powerful electromagnetic pinch compresses nearby charged particles and accelerates them to subluminal speeds in opposite directions from the center of the pinch.  These opposing streams of highly energized plasma emit synchrotron radiation in the form of X-rays and energize surrounding plasma causing it to emit radio waves.  The object’s high redshift is due to photons traveling through the hot but sparse electron plasma surrounding the Z-pinch.

Pictor A (Galaxy ESO 252-18)Shannon Sims