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Galaxy M87

Galaxy M87

R860/0056

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Credit

NASA / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY NASA / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption

Galaxy M87. It is thought that there may be three rings associated with the core of this elliptical galaxy. Rings one and two lie across the centre of the core, overlapping. Ring three runs from top to bottom. The reason for the rings is not understood but one possible explanation is the merger of two spinning, supermassive black holes. Galaxy M87, also called Virgo A or NGC 4486, is found in the constellation Virgo. It is 50 million light years away and was discovered and catalogued by Charles Messier on 18 March 1781. Image taken by the Advanced CCD Imaging Spectrometer (ACIS) aboard Nasa's Chandra X-ray observatory.

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