Virgo A (M87) and jet from the SMBH

RA center: 12h30m49s.263

DEC Centre: +12°23′29″.51

Date: 4. - 6. May 2024

Telescope: ASA RC-1000 (Chilescope T1) , remote

Recording camera: FLI PL16803

Exposure time: 3h 10´


R: 16 x 600″

G: 15 x 600″

B: 15 x 300″

Software: Pleiades Astrophoto PixInsight, Skylum Luminar AI

M87 is the dominant galaxy in the Virgo Cluster, the nearest large galaxy cluster, also known as Virgo A (or the X-ray source Virgo X-1 because of its strong radio emission).

It is a huge elliptical galaxy about 60 million light-years from the Milky Way. With a diameter of around 120,000 light-years and a mass of probably 3 billion solar masses, M87 is larger and heavier than the Milky Way.

In the telescope, M87 is rather unspectacular. However, on April 10, 2019, it was confirmed that there is a supermassive black hole (SMBH) at the center with a mass of 6.5 billion solar masses.

Matter flows out in the form of a jet approximately perpendicular to the accretion disk. This matter is accelerated in the accretion disk and is about 5000 light-years long (the apparent length of the jet is about 20 arcseconds by a width of about 2 arcseconds).

There is evidence of a Jet in the opposite direction. Unfortunately, this cannot be checked visually.