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Virgo Cluster, Rokinon 135 f2

Wide field from the Virgo Cluster

"The Virgo Cluster is a cluster of galaxies whose center is 53.8 ± 0.3 Mly (16.5 ± 0.1 Mpc)[2] away in the constellation Virgo. Comprising approximately 1300 (and possibly up to 2000) member galaxies,[3] the cluster forms the heart of the larger Virgo Supercluster, of which the Local Group (containing the Milky Way galaxy) is an outlying member. The Local Group actually experiences the mass of the Virgo Supercluster as the Virgocentric flow. It is estimated that the Virgo Cluster's mass is 1.2×1015 M out to 8 degrees of the cluster's center or a radius of about 2.2 Mpc.[4]

Many of the brighter galaxies in this cluster, including the giant elliptical galaxy Messier 87, were discovered in the late 1770s and early 1780s and subsequently included in Charles Messier's catalogue of non-cometary fuzzy objects. Described by Messier as nebulae without stars, their true nature was not recognized until the 1920s.[A]

The cluster subtends a maximum arc of approximately 8 degrees centered in the constellation Virgo. Although some of the cluster's most prominent members can be seen with smaller instruments, a 6 inch telescope will reveal about 160 of the cluster's galaxies on a clear night. Its brightest member is the elliptical galaxyMessier 49; however its most famous member is the elliptical galaxy Messier 87, which is located in the center of the cluster.[6]"


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