The ALMA data, re-colored so that orange is approaching and green is receding, and overlaid on a near-infrared image.
Cen A appears to be in the middle of a galaxy collision between the large elliptical and a smaller spiral galaxy. This collision has sparked the intense star formation and active supermassive back hole in the center as gas falls to the center of the system. This is the closest example of a process that occurs all over the universe, so astronomers use it as a detailed laboratory in order to extrapolate to more distant systems.
Previous views of Cen A in different wavelengths.
Centaurus A got its name as the first bright radio source discovered in the constellation of Centaurus. This is typically only observable from Southern Hemisphere sites, and the blazing radio light comes from the jets of relativistic material spewing forth in large jets see in the image above in green. Though this galaxy has made itself known for a long time, it's really cool to see astronomers using a new telescope to peer further into its inner workings and detect something far more ephemeral and ghostly-looking as this carbon monoxide gas.
For more information, see press releases by the National Radio Astronomy Observatory and The European Southern Observatory.
Top Image: ALMA Data overlaid on an optical image by the 2.2-meter telescope at ESO's La Silla Observatory in Chile. Credits: ALMA (ESO/NAOJ/NRAO), T.A. Rector (University of Alaska Anchorage). Visible-light image: ESO. Middle Image Credits: ALMA (ESO/NAOJ/NRAO); ESO/Y. Beletsky. Bottom Image Credits: NASA, NRAO/AUI, DSS