Astronomy Picture of the Day

Discover the cosmos! Each day we feature a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer.

September 13, 1995
See Explanation.  Clicking on the picture will download 
 the highest resolution version available.
Elliptical Galaxy M87
Credit: Anglo-Australian Telescope photograph by David Malin
Copyright: Anglo-Australian Telescope Board

Explanation: Elliptical galaxy M87 is a type of galaxy that looks much different than our own Milky Way Galaxy. But even for an elliptical galaxy M87 is peculiar. M87 is much bigger than an average galaxy, appears at the center of a whole cluster of galaxies known as the Virgo Cluster, and shows a very high number of globular clusters. These globular clusters are visible as faint spots surrounding the bright center of M87. In general, elliptical galaxies contain similar numbers of stars as spiral galaxies, but are ellipsoidal in shape (spirals are mostly flat), have no spiral structure, and little gas and dust. This picture is number sixty on a publicly posted list of images from the Anglo-Australian Telescope (AAT).

Tomorrow's picture: The Far Side

| Archive | Glossary | Education | About APOD |
Astronomy Picture of the Day (TM) is created and copyrighted in 1995 by Robert Nemiroff and Jerry Bonnell who are solely responsible for its content.

Top 5 logo