The Virgo Galaxy Cluster includes up to 2000 individual galaxies at a distance of 60 million light years from our local group of galaxies. Our Local Group of Galaxies is a small
cluster that includes our Milky Way Galaxy, the Magellanic Clouds, the Andromeda Galaxy, the Pinwheel Galaxy, and the pair M81-82. The Virgo Galaxy Cluster lies at the center
of a larger Supercluster, that includes our Local Group. Our Local Group is drawn by the large collective gravitational mass of the Virgo Galaxy Cluster, and will eventually be
pulled into the Virgo Cluster.
The image above is a wide angle view that shows the largest galaxy in the Virgo Cluster, supergiant elliptical galaxy M87, on the lower left. It possesses a supermassive black hole
at its center, and is a strong source of radio waves. The galaxy is surrounded by 12,000 globular clusters (much too small to be seen in my image), compared to only 150-300 for
the Milky Way. Much of the mass in M87 is in interstellar gas separate from the galaxy's stars, yeilding a mass much higher than the Milky Way, perhaps as much as 200 times
greater. Other giant elliptical galaxies M86 and M84 are in the upper right of this image. This image combined 80 minutes red, 70 minutes green, and 65 minutes blue exposures
with an ST10 camera and Tak Sky 90.
The image below was obtained 7 years earlier, centered on the giant elliptical galaxy M86. Another bright elliptical galaxy M84 is on the left side of this image. Six other galaxies
are immediately obvious, all of which I saw visually through the eyepiece the night after this image was taken. If you look closely, there are over a dozen other "fuzzy stars" that are
actually other smaller or more distant galaxies. I can count at least 24 galaxies on this image. This image combined 2 hours 40 minutes of exposures with an IDAS light pollution
filter, with an ST10XME camera through a TEC140 mm refractor.
Music: Sweet Dreams, by the Eurythmics