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M87 - Elliptical Galaxy in Virgo

Technical card

Imaging telescope or lens: Ritchey-Chretien 32

Imaging camera: SBIG STL-11000 CCD

Software: Maxim DL, Gimp

Resolution: 1502x999

Frames: 22x300"

Integration: 1.8 hours job: 1488773

RA center: 187.699 degrees

DEC center: 12.388 degrees

Pixel scale: 0.797 arcsec/pixel

Orientation: 179.444 degrees

Field radius: 0.200 degrees


* Image Acquisition by Jim Misti (Lum: 10 x 5’, RGB: 4 x 5’ each).
* Processing: Ruben Barbosa.

Messier 87 (NGC 4486) is an elliptical galaxy located approximately 60 million light-years away, in the direction of the constellation Virgo, being the dominant and luminous structure of the Virgo clump.

With about 125.000 light-years in diameter, the M87 is one of the largest known elliptical galaxies. Although it is only 25.000 light-years in diameter, the Milky Way, being elitist, its volume is significantly larger, containing about 2 billion stars ( As such, it is extremely luminous and it will not be surprising that at its center can be found one of the largest known black holes (6.4 billion solar masses).

It is also the galaxy with the largest number of globular clusters documented; but its most striking feature is the gigantic jet leaving the nucleus and extending for more than 8.000 light-years, emitting strongly synchrotron radiation as it moves near the speed of light.

A very close look at the image reveals the astrophysical jet immediately to the right of the M87 nucleus; the structure that is in the lower zone of the right side is the NGC 4478, a satellite galaxy; in the same horizontal line, but on the left, we find IC 3443.



Ruben Barbosa


Sky plot

Sky plot


M87 - Elliptical Galaxy in Virgo, Ruben Barbosa