The Virgo Cluster
March 17, 2003
The Virgo cluster is relatively nearby at a distance of 16 megaparsecs (52.2 million light-years). The bright and extensive emission in the upper right of the image originates from and extensive distribution of hot gas nearly 2.5 degrees in radius. For comparison, the full moon is 0.25 degrees in radius in the night sky. The cluster is centered on the galaxy M87. The bright extension of the emission to the upper left is centered on the galaxy M86. A number of other galaxies show up in the field as point sources.
Topics: Coma Berenices constellation, Virgo constellation, Astronomy, hot gas, Environment, Parsec, Virgo Cluster, Virgo Supercluster, Galaxy, Spiral galaxies