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Optical view of the elliptical galaxy M87

Optical view of the elliptical galaxy M87

R860/0040

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Credit

ROYAL OBSERVATORY, EDINBURGH / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY ROYAL OBSERVATORY, EDINBURGH / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

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Caption

The giant elliptical galaxy M87 (NGC 4486). M87 is one of the most massive & luminous of all known galaxies. It is surrounded by a halo of about 4000 globular star clusters which are visible here as small fuzzy dots. M87 is also a strong radio source. It is the largest member of the Virgo cluster of galaxies which is the nearest (50 million light years) major cluster to our Local Group. It is formed by 1000 members spread over an area 10 million light years wide. The elliptical galaxy NGC 4478 is just visible at bottom right.

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