This optical image of NGC 4051 was taken by the National Optical Astronomy Observatory, Kitt Peak, Arizona, USA. XMM has also studied NGC 4051, the results being published today in the Astrophysical Journal. The galaxy has an active black hole feeding voraciously on its surroundings.
A long-standing puzzle in astronomy, metals are found polluting vast tracts of intergalactic space. Through the XMM-Newton study, it is now known that they are produced by gas escaping from near the Event Horizon of a black hole, in particular, that of NGC 4051. Whether a similar phenomenon is seen in a more powerful active black hole will further be investigated with XMM-Newton.