3C161

3C161 is the 161st object in the third Cambridge catalog of radio sources. It is a very strong radio galaxy many thousand of times further away then any of the other objects you will see in the Tour of Orion. Thus, 3C161 is not associated with the Orion stars or any of the nebulae you will see in the tour.

Radio galaxies are some of the strongest sources of radio waves we know of but to us they tend not to be very strong because of the distance between us and the object. Most astronomers believe that a black hole at the center of some galaxies is the ultimate energy source that powers the radio emission. Astronomers also believe a black hole lies at the center of the Milky Way, our galaxy. Yet, we don't know why some galaxies produce intense radio waves while others, like the Milky Way, produce only weak radio waves.


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Ronald J. Maddalena 1998