Compass and scale image of M87 jet

M 87 is a supergiant elliptical galaxy, about 55 million light years from Earth. The galaxy has a featureless, ellipsoidal shape and is the second brightest galaxy in the nothern Virgo Cluster.

In the center of the galaxy a supermassive black hole is located, which is also the main component of its active galctic nucleus. Caused by the black hole and its accretion disk a relativistic jet emerges 5000 light years from the nucleus of the galaxy.

Within the Jet the space telescopes Hubble and Spitzer detected a knot, designated HST-1. This knot is about 210 light years from the core. By 2006, the X-ray intensity of this knot had increased by a factor of 50 over a four-year period.


NASA, ESA and J. Madrid (McMaster University, Canada)

About the Image

NASA press release
NASA caption
Release date:10 February 2009, 15:00
Size:600 x 600 px

About the Object

Name:M87, Messier 87, NGC 4486
Type:Local Universe : Galaxy : Type : Elliptical
Local Universe : Galaxy : Size : Giant
Local Universe : Galaxy : Component : Central Black Hole
Distance:55 million light years

Image Formats

Large JPEG
86.5 KB
Screensize JPEG
139.1 KB

Colours & filters

232 nm Hubble Space Telescope

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