Fig13_8 The bright radio source Virgo A

Fig13_8 The bright radio source Virgo A

Fig. 13.8 . The bright radio source Virgo A, also designated 3C 274, coincides with M 87, a giant elliptical galaxy located at a distance of about 56.8 million light-years. M 87 is the largest and brightest galaxy within the Virgo cluster of galaxies. The core of M 87 contains a super-massive black hole of about 3 billion solar masses, which is a thousand times more massive than the black hole at the center of our Milky Way Galaxy. This radio map, made with the Very Large Array, shows two elongated lobes, one on either side of the center of M 87, apparently fed by the super-massive black hole. The most intense radio emission comes from a jet that emerges from the core of the galaxy and extends about 5,000 light-years into one of the two lobes. The observed high-speed motion of bright knots in the jet implies that its radio-emitting electrons are traveling at nearly the speed of light. (Courtesy of NRAO/AUI/NSF.)

Copyright 2010, Professor Kenneth R. Lang, Tufts University