ROYAL OBSERVATORY, EDINBURGH / AATB / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY ROYAL OBSERVATORY, EDINBURGH / AATB / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
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Optical image of part of the Virgo cluster of galaxies. The Virgo cluster is the nearest major cluster of galaxies to our Local Group & lies some 50 million light years away. It consists of about 1000 galaxies spread across a region 10 million light years wide. The image shows several elliptical & spiral galaxies, but the field is dominated by the giant elliptical galaxies M86 (NGC 4406) at centre & M84 (NGC 4374) at centre right. The photograph was taken using the 1.2m UK Schmidt Telescope in Australia.
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