NGC 1316 has a lot of skeletons in its closet -- literally.
Located approximately 60 million light-years away in the southern constellation of Fornax (The Furnace), NGC 1316 is a large lenticular galaxy that has a rather colorful past. It is notable as being the brightest radio source in Fornax and the fourth brightest source in the whole sky -- the powerful emissions are caused by the active supermassive black hole that lurks in its core.
Now, astronomers using the MPG/ESO 2.2-meter telescope at ESO's La Silla Observatory in Chile have taken a very detailed look at the galaxy's structure, revealing its unusual dust lanes and small star clusters. After a bit of celestial detective work, astronomers know that these features were created when NGC 1316 swallowed a smaller galaxy around 3 billion years ago.
The above observation also shows wispy trails of stars reaching out into intergalactic space, a sure sign of violent tidal interactions during NGC 1316's cannibalistic past. These are galactic 'battle scars' of sorts and their presence acts as a cosmic memorial of galaxies past.
Sitting right next to NGC 1316 is an elegant spiral galaxy NGC 1317 that appears to have had a less eventful history. However, the small spiral is located very close to NGC 1316, potentially indicating that NGC 1317 will be on the menu in the future.