Astronomy Picture of the Day

Elliptical Galaxy M87

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#87235 by @ 21.05.2006 00:00 - nach oben -
Elliptical Galaxy M87


In spiral galaxies, majestic
winding arms of young stars and
interstellar gas and dust rotate in a flat disk around a
bulging galactic nucleus.

But elliptical galaxies seem to be simpler.

Lacking gas and dust to form new stars, their
randomly swarming older stars, give them an ellipsoidal
(egg-like) shape.

Still, elliptical galaxies can be very large.

Over 120,000 light-years in diameter (larger than our own
Milky Way), elliptical galaxy M87 is the dominant
galaxy at the center
of the Virgo Galaxy Cluster, some 50 million light-years away.

M87 is likely home to a supermassive
black hole responsible
for the high-energy jet of particles emerging from the giant
galaxy's central region.

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