Click the image above for a larger version (60%)


Catalogue and alternative designations M87, NGC 4486 


Type Elliptical galaxy 
Position  12 30 49, 12 23 28
Constellation Virgo
Camera and Telescope STXL6303 and 36.8 cm Ritchey Chretien
Focal Ratio F9
Exposure Details LRGB 150:60:60:60  
Description M87 is a giant elliptical galaxy in the Virgo cluster approximately 54 million light years away.  At magnitude 8.6 it is quite bright and about 3' across.  Visually it is quite featureless but is one of the most astrophysically interesting galaxies in our neighbourhood.  The most noticeable feature is the jet (pointing down in this image) which was discovered in 1918 and now known to be emission from the galaxy's central black hole.  There are also about 12,000 globular clusters some of which being visible as faint fuzzy stars in this image.  Click here for a more detailed image of the jet.