A luminous Seyfert galaxy and its active black hole-driven nucleus

NGC 5283 is a Seyfert galaxy, meaning it hosts a supermassive black hole powering an active galactic nucleus, or AGN. Most AGNs are so bright they outshine their host galaxies, sucking in enormous amounts of gas and dust and heating it to extreme temperatures in a fiery blaze. Seyfert galaxies, making up about 10 percent of all galaxies, feature AGNs at the lower end of the energy spectrum, leaving the host galaxy visible at optical wavelengths. NGC 5283 provides a textbook example in this photo captured by the Hubble Space Telescope in a survey of nearby AGNs.

NGC 5283 as seen by the Hubble Space Telescope, along with a handful of background galaxies. Image: NASA, ESA, A. Barth (University of California – Irvine), and M. Revalski (STScI); Processing: Gladys Kober (NASA/Catholic University of America)