A radio and optical view of galaxy NGC 5643 shows the fiery core of a luminous Seyfert galaxy, powered by gas and debris being sucked into a supermassive black hole hidden by vast clouds of dust and debris. It is difficult to probe the shrouded inner regions of a Seyfert galaxy, but researchers using the Atacama Large Millimetre/submillimetre Array – ALMA – and the Multi Unit Spectroscopic Explorer – MUSE – on the Very Large Telescope have captured this view of electrically charged gas being ejected from the black hole’s accretion disk to either side of the core. Cold molecular gas traced by carbon monoxide, seen in red, defines the galaxy’s rotating inner region.
Astronomers have found the organic molecule methyl alcohol, or methanol, in the protoplanetary disc of TW Hydrae, 175 light-years from Earth — the first such detection of this chemical compound in a young planet-forming disc. Since methanol forms on the icy coatings of dust grains, this discovery provides a window into the region where comets are likely forming.