Longer exposures of M87 show a huge system of globular clusters; at least about 4,000 of these stellar swarms polulate a conspicuous halo around this magnificient galaxy. They are even better seen in this image processed by R. Mark Elowitz.
In our case here, this image was obtained with the 2.1-meter telescope on Kitt Peak, using a TI CCD camera, by Bill Keel. The image was mapped to stress the outer parts of M87 and some of the many globular clusters surrounding the galaxy.
Shorter exposures like this one do no more show the extended halo and the outskirts of M87, but reveal more detail in its inner part, including the famous 7-8,000 light year long jet.
Here however, the image shown was obtained from the same image as above, but stretched to emphasize the bright regions and the jet.
A more detailed view of the jet was obtained by HST, again worked out by R. Mark Elowitz.
Both images above are from Bill Keel's collection at the University of Alabama.
Giant elliptical galaxy M87, in the center of the Virgo
Cluster, as photographed by Shane Larson and Mike Murray on January 25,
2001 from Kitt Peak near Tucson, Arizona, when participating in the Kitt peak
Visitor Center's Advanced
Observing Program. The image was obtained with the AOP's Meade 16in LX200
telescope operating at f/6.3 and SBIG ST8E CCD camera. Thanks to processing by
Adam Block, both the globular clusters and the nuclear jet are visible in
Credit: Shane Larson and Mike Murray/Adam Block/AURA/NOAO/NSF
Central region of M87, showing the region of the active nucleus and the inner part of the highly collimated, energetic jet which originates from the central object. The reddish color of the stellar part of this image is a consequence of the fact that M87, as a typical elliptical galaxy, primarily contains old, fairly cold stars. The powerful jet, however, is extremely energetic and emits much of its energy in the blue and ultraviolet parts of the spectrum. The jet, therefore, appears bright blue in comparison.
This is the VLT UT1 First Light Photo No. 7, actually a colour composite of three images taken in ultraviolet, blue, and visible light (U, B and V filters, represented Blue, Green, Red), during the night of May 25 - 26, 1998.
Last Modification: 2 Jun 1998, 21:30 MET