Messier 87 (M 87)

Introduction | Map | Sketch | My Own Photos | My Own Observations | References || Appendix: The Jet

On this page I collect my observations of the elliptical galaxy M 87 in the constellation Virgo. The smaller elliptical galaxy NGC 4478 is in the same field of view.

 

Introduction

According to Karkoschka, the elliptical galaxy M 87 in the constellation Virgo is the central galaxy of the Virgo A cluster and has a brighter core, which I, however, was not able to see visually. In the eVscope it is clearly visible. The smaller elliptical galaxy NGC 4478 is in the same field of view of the eVscope.

It was not until early 2021 that I was informed by a star friend that there is a huge black hole at the center of M 87, whose activity makes M 87 one of the brightest radio and X-ray sources in the sky. A jet emanates from the galaxy's core, accelerating matter to nearly the speed of light. It can be observed visually only with large telescopes . It is, however, possible to photograph the jet - and I even managed to do so with the eVscope, as the following photos demonstrate:

         

M 87 - Mar 24, 2020 (overlay of two photos). The jet is hard to see.

 

M 87 - Mar 24, 2020 (overlay of two photos). The left arrow points to the jet.

  M 87 - Mar 24, 20200 (overlay of two photos). The left arrow points to the jet (special layer mode in Photoshop).

Larger versions of the photos can be found in the appendix.

M 87      NGC 4478
Size: 3'/4' (Stoyan/Karkoschka)
Distance: 60/55 million light years (Stoyan/Karkoschka)
Rating: ** (Stoyan)
  Size: 1.8' x 1.4' (SkySafari)
Distance: 55 million light years (SkySafari)
Rating: ---

 

Map

M 87 in constellation Virgo in the Virgo galaxy cluster (close to the center) (Image Courtesy of SkySafari Astronomy, www.simulationcurriculum.com)

The elliptical galaxy M 87 in the constellation Virgo (in the Virgo galaxy cluster) plus the galaxy M 49 (further down) (Image Courtesy of SkySafari Astronomy, www.simulationcurriculum.com)

The elliptical galaxy M 87 in the constellation Virgo (in the Virgo galaxy cluster) plus the nearby elliptical galaxy NGC 4478 (Image Courtesy of SkySafari Astronomy, www.simulationcurriculum.com)

 

Sketch

The sketch by Michael Vlasov (DeepSkyWatch.com) provides a rough impression of what I observed (my impression was much fainter than the sketch): Markarian's Chain, M87 in Virgo Cluster (Messier 87) by Michael Vlasov (Copyright © Michael Vlasov 2016)

Note: I only have the author's permission to link to the sketch.

 

My Own Photos

eVscope

         

M 87 - Mar 24, 2020

 

M 87 - Mar 24, 2020, processed

 
         

M 87 - Mar 24, 2020

 

M 87 - Mar 24, 2020, processed

 

 

My Own Observations

Observations May 2017

Observations March 2020

 

References

On this Site


Appendix: The Jet

It was not until early 2021 that I was informed by a star friend that there is a huge black hole at the center of M 87, whose activity makes M 87 one of the brightest radio and X-ray sources in the sky. A jet emanates from the galaxy's core, accelerating matter to nearly the speed of light. It can be observed visually only with large telescopes. It is, however, possible to photograph the jet - and I even managed to do so with the eVscope!

I took only two photos of M 87 on March 24, 2020. On both the jet can only be guessed with some good will. Here is one of the photos with the left arrow pointing to the jet:

On the right (right arrow), there is the galaxy NGC 4478, which helped me for orientation purposes.

I then superimposed the two photos in Photoshop Elements and tested various layer calculations. Here are the best versions:

I superimposed the two photos so that the stars were aligned perfectly. Then, however, the overlays did no longer fit...

Here a second variant made from the two photos, however, without the arrows: