M87 GALAXY

M87, also known as the Virgo A (a strong radio source), is one of the most massive galaxies known.  It's an "elliptical" galaxy, so it has no spiral arms.  It is noted for a "jet" produced by a giant black hole at the galaxy's core.

Here's a pair of black-and-white images having the same scale but processed differently to illustrate the elliptical nature of the galaxy and the jet near the center.

Figure 1a and 1b.  M87 is shown on the left to lack spiral arms in this "unsharp masked" rendition.  The right image is processed differently in order to show the jet projecting westward from the galactic core. The field of view of both images is 10.1 x 9.3 'arc (northeast is upper-left).  [Meade 10-inch LX200 SCT f/6.3, focal reducer lens f/4.7, SBIG ST-8XE CCD; total exposure is 3.5 minutes, unguided 30-sec individual exposures. Left image was processed using MaxIm DL's unsharp mask and gamma 0.5 twice then smoothed (FFT low pass more).  Right image was merely unsharp masked. 2003.03.05/06, Hereford, AZ residence].

This galaxy is estimated to contain more than 10 trillion stars, and is located 50 million light years away.

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This site opened:  March 6, 2003 Last Update:  March 6, 2003