Messier 87

Messier 87

Messier 87
Messier 87 as seen by the Hubble Space Telescope.
Observation data
Epoch J2000
Constellation Virgo
Right ascension 12h 30m 49.42338s[1]
Declination +12° 23′ 28.0439″[1]
Apparent dimension (V) 7.2 × 6.8 moa[2]
Apparent magnitude (V) 9.59[3]
Type E+0-1 pec, NLRG Sy[3]
Heliocentric radial velocity 1307 ± 7[3]km/s
Redshift 0.004360 ± 0.000022[3]
Galactocentric velocity 1254 ± 7[3] km/s
Distance 53.5 ± 1.63 Mly (16.40 ± 0.50 Mpc)[4]
Other designations
Virgo A, Virgo X-1, NGC 4486, UGC 7654, PGC 41361, VCC 1316, Arp 152, 3C 274,[3] 3U 1228+12.[5]
Database references
See also: Galaxy, List of galaxies

Messier 87 (also known as Virgo A or NGC 4486, and generally abbreviated to M87) is a supergiant elliptical galaxy in the constellation Virgo. One of the most massive galaxies in the local universe, it is notable for its large population of globular clusters—M87 contains about 12,000 compared to the 150-200 orbiting the Milky Way—and its jet of energetic plasma that originates at the core and extends outward at least 1,500 parsecs (4,900 light-years), travelling at relativistic speed. It is one of the brightest radio sources in the sky, and is a popular target for both amateur astronomy observations and professional astronomy study.

French astronomer Charles Messier discovered M87 in 1781, cataloguing it as a nebulous feature while searching for objects that would confuse comet hunters. The second brightest galaxy within the northern Virgo Cluster, M87 is located about 16.4 million parsecs (53.5 million light-years) from Earth. Unlike a disk-shaped spiral galaxy, M87 has no distinctive dust lanes. Instead, it has an almost featureless, ellipsoidal shape typical of most giant elliptical galaxies, diminishing in luminosity with distance from the centre. Forming around one sixth of M87's mass, the stars in this galaxy have a nearly spherically symmetric distribution, their density decreasing with increasing distance from the core. At the core is a supermassive black hole, which forms the primary component of an active galactic nucleus. This object is a strong source of multiwavelength radiation, particularly radio waves. M87's galactic envelope extends out to a radius of about 150 kiloparsecs (490,000 light-years), where it has been truncated—possibly by an encounter with another galaxy. Between the stars is a diffuse interstellar medium of gas that has been chemically enriched by elements emitted from evolved stars.


  • Observation history 1
  • Visibility 2
  • Properties 3
  • Components 4
  • Jet 5
  • Environment 6
  • Notes 7
  • References 8
  • External links 9

Observation history

In 1781, French astronomer Charles Messier published a catalogue of 103 objects that had a nebulous appearance. This list was intended to identify objects that might be confused with comets. In subsequent use, each item in the catalogue was prefixed with an 'M'. Thus, M87 was the eighty seventh member of Messier's catalogue.[6] During the 1880s, this nebula was included in the New General Catalogue as NGC 4486. This compilation of nebulae and star clusters was assembled by the Danish-Irish astronomer John Dreyer based primarily on the observations of English astronomer John Herschel.[7]

In 1918, American astronomer Heber Curtis of Lick Observatory observed that there was no spiral structure in M87 and he noticed a "curious straight ray ... apparently connected with the nucleus by a thin line of matter." The ray appeared brightest at the inner end.[8] The following year, a supernova within M87 reached a peak photographic magnitude of 21.5, although this event was not reported until photographic plates were examined by the Russian astronomer Innokentii A. Balanowski in 1922.[9][10]

American astronomer Edwin Hubble categorized M87 as one of the brighter globular nebulae, as it lacked any spiral structure but appeared to belong to the same family of non-galactic nebulae as spiral nebulae.[11] In 1926 he produced a new categorization of nebulae, with M87 being classified as a type of elliptical extra-galactic nebula with no apparent elongation (class E0).[12] By 1931, Hubble had identified M87 as a member of the Virgo cluster, for which he gave a provisional estimate of 1.8 million parsecs from Earth. At the time it was the only known example of an elliptical nebula for which individual stars could be resolved.[13] M87 continued to be called an extragalactic nebula for many years thereafter, but by 1956 it had been identified as an E0-type galaxy.[14]

Hubble follows spiral flow of black-hole-powered jet.[15]

In 1947, a prominent radio source was identified overlapping the location of M87, and this was labeled Virgo-A.[16] This source was confirmed to be M87 by 1953, and the linear relativistic jet emerging from the core of the galaxy was suggested as the cause. This jet extended from the core at a position angle of 260° to an angular distance of 20″ with an angular width of 2″.[17] In 1969-70, a strong component of the radio emission was found to closely align with the optical source of the jet.[5]

In April 1965, the US Naval Research Laboratory group launched an Aerobee 150 equipped with a pair of geiger counters.[18] This flight discovered seven candidate X-ray sources, including the first extragalactic X-ray source; Virgo X-1 was designated as the first X-ray source detected in Virgo.[19] A later Aerobee rocket launched from White Sands Missile Range on July 7, 1967, yielded further evidence that the source Virgo X-1 was the radio galaxy M87.[20] Subsequent X-ray observations by the HEAO 1 and Einstein Observatory showed a complex source that included the active galactic nucleus of M87.[21] However, there is little central concentration of the X-ray emission.[5]


The location of M87 (upper right) in Virgo
The location of M87 in Virgo

M87 is located near the high declination border of the Virgo, next to the constellation of Coma Berenices. It lies along a line between the stars Epsilon Virginis and Denebola.[22] At an apparent magnitude of 9.59, this galaxy can be readily observed using a small telescope with a 6 cm (2.4 in) aperture, extending across an angular area of 7.2 × 6.8 arcminutes with a bright, 45 arcsecond core.[2] Viewing the jet is a challenge without the aid of photography.[23] Before 1991, Russian-American astronomer Otto Struve was the only person known to have seen the jet visually, using the 254 cm (100 in) Hooker telescope.[24] In recent years, however, it has been observed in larger amateur telescopes under excellent conditions.[25]


Huge halo around Messier 87.[26]

In the modified

  • Messier 87, SEDS Messier pages
  • ESA/Hubble News Release
  • ESA/Hubble images of M87
  • Messier 87 on WikiSky: DSS2, SDSS, GALEX, IRAS, Hydrogen α, X-Ray, Astrophoto, Sky Map, Articles and images

Media related to at Wikimedia Commons

External links

  1. ^ a b Lambert, S. B.; Gontier, A.-M. (January 2009). "On radio source selection to define a stable celestial frame". Astronomy and Astrophysics 493 (1): 317–23.  
  2. ^ a b Luginbuhl, Christian B.; Skiff, Brian A. (1998). Observing Handbook and Catalogue of Deep-Sky Objects (2nd ed.). Cambridge, United Kingdom: Cambridge University Press. p. 266.  
  3. ^ a b c d e f "Results for NGC 4486". NASA/IPAC Extragalactic Database. California Institute of Technology. Retrieved 22 October 2006.  Select the "By Name" cell, then enter "NGC 4486" in the "Object Name:" field of the query form.
  4. ^ a b c d Bird, S.; Harris, W. E.; Blakeslee, J. P.; Flynn, C. (2004). "The inner halo of M 87: a first direct view of the red-giant population". Astronomy and Astrophysics 524: 1–11.  
  5. ^ a b c Turland, B. D. (February 1975). "Observations of M87 at 5 GHz with the 5-km telescope" 170. Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society. pp. 281–94.  
  6. ^ Basu, Baidyanath (2003). "An Introduction to Astrophysics". PHI Learning Pvt. Ltd. p. 237.  
  7. ^ Dreyer, J. L. E. (1888). "A New General Catalogue of Nebulae and Clusters of Stars,being the Catalogue of the late Sir John F.W. Herschel, Bart., revised, corrected, and enlarged.". Memoires of the Royal Astronomical Society 49: 1–237.  
  8. ^ Curtis, Heber Doust (1918). "Descriptions of 762 Nebulae and Clusters Photographed with the Crossley Reflector". Publications of the Lick Observatory (University of California Press) 13: 31. 
  9. ^ Hubble, E. (October 1923). "Messier 87 and Belanowsky's Nova". Publications of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific 35 (207): 261.  
  10. ^ Shklovskii, I. S. (1980). "Supernovae in Multiple Systems". Soviet Astronomy 24: 387.  
  11. ^ Hubble, E. P. (1922). "A general study of diffuse galactic nebulae". Astrophysical Journal 56: 162–99.  
  12. ^ Hubble, E. P. (1926). "Extragalactic nebulae". Astrophysical Journal 64: 321–69.  
  13. ^ Hubble, Edwin; Humason, Milton L. (1931). "The Velocity-Distance Relation among Extra-Galactic Nebulae". Astrophysical Journal 74: 43.  
  14. ^ Burbidge, G. R. (1956). "On Synchrotron Radiation from Messier 87". The Astrophysical Journal 124: 416.  
  15. ^ "Hubble follows spiral flow of black-hole-powered jet". ESA/Hubble Press Release. Retrieved 6 September 2013. 
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  19. ^ Charles, P. A.; Seward, F. D. (1995). Exploring the X-ray universe. Cambridge, United Kingdom: Press Syndicate of the University of Cambridge. p. 9.  
  20. ^ Bradt, H.; Naranan, S.; Rappaport, S.; Spada, G. (1968). "Celestial Positions of X-Ray Sources in Sagittarius". Astrophysical Journal 152 (6): 1005–13.  
  21. ^ Lea, S. M.; Mushotzky, R.; Holt, S. S. (1982). "Einstein Observatory solid state spectrometer observations of M87 and the Virgo cluster". Astrophysical Journal, Part 1 262: 24–32.  
  22. ^ Epsilon Virginis is at celestial coordinates α=13h 02m, δ=+10° 57′; Denebola is at α=11h 49m, δ=+14° 34′. The midpoint of the pair is at α=12h 16m, δ=12° 45′. Compare to the coordinates of Messier 87: α=12h 31m, δ=+12° 23′.
  23. ^ Cooke, Antony (2005). Visual astronomy under dark skies: a new approach to observing deep space. Patrick Moore's practical astronomy series. London, United Kingdom: Springer-Verlag. pp. 5–37.  
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  26. ^ "Giant Galaxy is Still Growing". Retrieved 25 June 2015. 
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  39. ^ Gebhardt, Karl; Thomas, Jens (August 2009). "The Black Hole Mass, Stellar Mass-to-Light Ratio, and Dark Halo in M87". The Astrophysical Journal 700 (2): 1690–1701.  
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  43. ^ a b Klotz, Irene (8 June 2009). "Galaxy's Outer Halo Lopped Off". Discovery News. Retrieved 25 April 2010. 
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  49. ^ Walsh, Jonelle L.; Barth, Aaron J.; Ho, Luis C.; Sarzi, Marc (2013). "The M87 Black Hole Mass from Gas-dynamical Models of Space Telescope Imaging Spectrograph Observations". The Astrophysical Journal 770 (2): 86.  
  50. ^ Macchetto, F.; Marconi, A.;  
  51. ^ a b Matveyenko, L. I.; Seleznev, S. V. (2011). "Fine core-jet structure of the galaxy M87". Astronomy Letters 37 (3): 154–70.  
  52. ^ Di Matteo, Tiziana; Allen, Steven W.; Fabian, Andrew C.; Wilson, Andrew S.; Young, Andrew J. (2003). "Accretion onto the Supermassive Black Hole in M87". The Astrophysical Journal 582 (1): 133–40.  
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  58. ^ Werner, N.; Böhringer, H.; Kaastra, J. S.; de Plaa, J.; Simionescu, A.; Vink, J. (2006). "XMM-Newton high-resolution spectroscopy reveals the chemical evolution of M 87". Astronomy and Astrophysics 459 (2): 353–60.  
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    \begin{smallmatrix}\left[\frac{Fe}{H}\right]\ =\ -0.3\end{smallmatrix}
    within a 3 kpc radius of the galactic core.
  64. ^ Tamura, Naoyuki; Sharples, Ray M.; Arimoto, Nobuo; Onodera, Masato; Ohta, Kouji; Yamada, Yoshihiko (2006). "A Subaru/Suprime-Cam wide-field survey of globular cluster populations around M87 - I. Observation, data analysis and luminosity function".  
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  1. ^ this yields a distance of 16.4 ± 2.3 megaparsecs (53.5 ± 7.50 million light-years).[4]
  2. ^ this yields a distance of 16.7 ± 0.9 megaparsecs (54.5 ± 2.94 million light-years).[4]


Measurements of the motion of intracluster planetary nebulae between M87 and M86 suggest that these two galaxies are moving toward each other and this may be their first encounter. M87 may have encountered M84 in the past, as evidenced by the truncation of the outer halo of the former from tidal effects. However, another possible cause of this truncation is a contraction due to an unseen mass falling into M87 from the rest of the cluster, which, in particular, may be the hypothesized dark matter. A third possibility is that the halo formation was truncated as a result of early feedback from the active galactic nucleus at the core of M87.[42]

This supergiant elliptical galaxy is located near the center of the M49 and M86, with the one centered around M87 known as Virgo A and the one around M49 as Virgo B.[83] There is a preponderance of elliptical and S0 galaxies around M87, with a chain of elliptical galaxies aligned with the jet.[84] In terms of mass, M87 is a dominant member of the cluster, and hence appears to be moving very little relative to the cluster as a whole.[42] Indeed, M87 is defined as the cluster center. The cluster has a sparse gaseous atmosphere that emits X-rays that decrease in temperature toward the middle, where M87 is located.[60] The combined mass of the cluster is estimated to be (0.15–1.5) × 1015 solar masses.[82]

A cluster of galaxies
Messier 87 is a member of the Virgo Cluster, and can be seen to lower left of this cluster image.


A knot of matter in the jet, designated HST-1, has been tracked by the Hubble Space Telescope and the Chandra X-ray Observatory. This knot is about 65 parsecs (210 light-years) from the core. By 2006, the X-ray intensity of this knot had increased by a factor of 50 over a four-year period.[80] This X-ray emission has since been decaying in a variable manner.[81]

M87 is a very strong source of gamma rays, which are the most energetic rays of the electromagnetic spectrum. Gamma rays coming from M87 have been observed since the late 1990s, but in 2006, using the HESS Cherenkov telescopes, scientists have measured the variations of the gamma ray flux coming from M87, and found that the flux changes over a matter of days. This short period makes the immediate vicinity of the supermassive black hole in M87 the most promising source for these gamma rays.[79] In general, the smaller the diameter of the emission source, the faster the variation in flux, and vice versa.

Observations made by Chandra X-ray Observatory indicate the presence of loops and rings in the hot X-ray emitting gas that permeates the cluster and surrounds M87. These loops and rings are generated by pressure waves. The pressure waves are caused by variations in the rate at which material is ejected from the supermassive black hole in jets. The distribution of loops suggests that minor eruptions occur every six million years. One of the rings, caused by a major eruption, is a shock wave 26 kiloparsecs (85 thousand light-years) in diameter around the black hole. Other features observed include narrow X-ray emitting filaments up to 31 kiloparsecs (100 thousand light-years) long, and a large cavity in the hot gas caused by a major eruption 70 million years ago. The regular eruptions prevent a huge reservoir of gas from cooling and forming stars, implying that M87’s evolution may have been seriously affected, preventing it from becoming a large spiral galaxy. The observations also imply the presence of sound waves, 56 octaves below middle C for the minor eruptions and 58 to 59 below middle C for the major eruptions.[78]

In pictures taken by the Hubble Space Telescope in 1999, the motion of M87's jet was measured at four to six times the speed of light. This motion may be an optical illusion caused by the relativistic velocity of the jet, and not true superluminal motion. However, detection of such motion supports the theory that quasars, BL Lac objects and radio galaxies may all be the same phenomenon, known as active galaxies, viewed from different perspectives.[74][75] It has been proposed M87 could actually be a BL Lacertae object (with a low-luminosity nuclei compared with the brightness of its host galaxy) seen from an unfavorable angle to appreciate the properties of that kind of galaxies.[76][77]

The relativistic jet of matter emerging from the core extends at least 1.5 kiloparsecs (5 thousand light-years) from the nucleus of M87 and is made up of matter ejected from the galaxy by a supermassive black hole. This jet is highly collimated, appearing constrained to an angle of 60° within 0.8 parsecs (2.6 light-years) of the core, about 16° at a distance of 2 parsecs (6.5 light-years) and an angle of 6–7° at a distance of 12 parsecs (39 light-years).[69] The jet's base has the diameter of 5.5 ± 0.4 Schwarzschild radii. The jet is probably powered by a prograde accretion disk around a spinning supermassive black hole.[69] It is surrounded by a lower velocity, non-relativistic component. There is evidence of a counter jet, but this feature remains unseen from the Earth due to relativistic beaming.[70][71] The jet is precessing, causing the outflow to form a helical pattern out to a distance of 1.6 parsecs (5.2 light-years).[51] Lobes of matter from the jet extend out to a distance of 77 kiloparsecs (250 thousand light-years).[72] German-American astronomer Walter Baade found that the light from the jet is plane polarized, which suggested that the energy was being generated by the acceleration of electrons moving at relativistic velocities in a magnetic field. The total energy output of these electrons was estimated as 5.1 × 1056 ergs[73] (or 5.1 × 1049 joules or 3.2 × 1068 eV). For comparison, the entire Milky Way galaxy output is estimated at 5 × 1036 joules per second (watts).

This Hubble Space Telescope photograph shows the jet of matter ejected from M87 at nearly light speed, as it stretches 1.5 kpc (5×10^3 ly) from the galactic core.
In this Chandra X-ray Observatory image, cold matter from the Virgo cluster falls toward the core of M87, where it is met by the relativistic jet, producing shock waves in the galaxy's interstellar medium.


Ultra-compact dwarfs resemble globular clusters but have a diameter of 10 parsecs (33 light-years) or more, much larger than the 3-parsec (10 light-year) maximum of globular clusters. Their nature is unclear as to whether they are dwarf galaxies captured by M87 or a new class of massive globular cluster. Almost a hundred have been identified from the thousands of globular clusters in M87.[68]

M87 has an abnormally large population of globular clusters. A 2006 survey out to an angular distance of 25′ from its core estimates that there are 12,000 ± 800 globular clusters in orbit around M87, as compared to the Milky Way's 150–200.[64] These clusters are similar in size distribution to the globular clusters of the Milky Way, with most having an effective radius between 1 and 6 parsecs. The size of the M87 clusters shows a gradual increase with distance from the galactic center.[65] The first hypervelocity globular cluster, HVGC-1, was discovered escaping M87.[66] The discovery of HVGC-1 suggests that the core of M87 holds not one but two supermassive black holes. The two supermassive black holes are the result of a long-ago collision between two galaxies, which merged to form a single giant galaxy.[67]

Within a 4 kpc (13×10^3 ly) radius of the core, the abundance of elements other than hydrogen and helium—what astronomers term the metallicity—is about half the abundance in the Sun. Outside this radius, the abundance of metals steadily decreases with increasing distance from the core.[63] Although this is classified as an elliptical galaxy and therefore lacks the dust lanes of a spiral galaxy, optical filaments have been observed in M87. These filaments have an estimated mass of about 10,000 times the mass of the Sun.[41] Surrounding the galaxy is an extended corona with hot, low density gas.[63]

Examination of M87 at far infrared wavelengths shows an excess emission at wavelengths longer than 25 μm. Normally such emission may be an indication of thermal emission by warm dust.[60] However, in the case of M87, the emission appears to be fully explained by synchrotron radiation from the jet. Within the galaxy, silicate grains are expected to survive for no more than 46 million years because of the X-ray emission from the core.[61] This dust may be destroyed by the hostile environment or expelled from the galaxy.[61] The combined mass of dust in this galaxy is no more than 70,000 times the mass of the Sun.[61] By comparison, the Milky Way contains about a hundred million (108) solar masses worth of dust.[62]

Colors represent the motion of the stars that form the giant elliptical galaxy M87.[59]

The space between the stars in the M87 galaxy is filled with a diffuse interstellar medium of gas, which has been chemically enriched by the elements ejected from stars as they passed beyond the end of their main sequence lifetime. Carbon and nitrogen is being continuously supplied by intermediate mass stars as they pass through the asymptotic giant branch. The heavier elements from oxygen to iron are primarily produced by supernova explosions within the galaxy. About 60% of the abundance of these heavy elements was produced by core-collapse supernovae, while the remainder came from Type Ia supernovae. The distribution of these elements suggests that early enrichment was from core-collapse supernovae. The contribution from these sources was much lower in abundance than in the Milky Way. Type Ia supernovae have provided a continuous contribution to the interstellar medium of M87 throughout the history of the galaxy.[58]

Active elliptical galaxies of a form similar to M87 are believed to form as a result of one or more mergers between smaller galaxies.[56] There is now little dust remaining to form the diffuse nebulae where new stars are created, so the stellar population is dominated by old, population II stars that contain relatively low abundances of elements other than hydrogen and helium. The elliptical shape of this galaxy is maintained by random orbital motions of its member stars, in contrast to the more orderly rotational motions found in a spiral galaxy such as the Milky Way.[57]

Observations suggest that the black hole in M87 may be displaced from the galaxy center by a distance of about 25 parsecs (82 light-years).[53] The displacement is in the opposite direction from the one-sided jet, which may indicate that the black hole has been accelerated away from the center by the jet. Another possibility is that the displacement occurred during the merger of two SMBH.[53][54] However care has to be taken with these findings. The study does not include any spectroscopic discrimination between the stellar and active galactic nucleus component. It is therefore possible that the seeming position of the galaxy center with respect to the black hole is misinterpreted by an optical flare of the jet itself. In 2011, an analysis of M87 did not find any statistically significant displacement.[55]

At the core of this galaxy is a supermassive black hole (SMBH) with an estimated (3.5 ± 0.8) × 109 times the mass of the Sun.[49] This is one of the highest masses known for such an object. Surrounding the black hole is a rotating disk of ionized gas that is oriented roughly perpendicular to the relativistic jet. This disk is rotating at velocities of up to roughly 1,000 km/s,[50] and spans a maximum diameter of 0.12 parsecs (0.39 light-years).[51] Gas is accreting onto the black hole at an estimated rate equal to the mass of the Sun every ten years (about 91 earth masses per day).[52]

Artist's concept of a supermassive black hole and its accretion disk


Using the Very Large Telescope to study the motions of about 300 planetary nebulae, it has been shown that M87 has absorbed a medium-sized galaxy over the last billion years. The distinctive spectral properties of the planetary nebulae allowed astronomers to discover a chevron-like structure in M87's halo which is was produced by the incomplete phase-space mixing of a disrupted galaxy.[47][48]

Gas is infalling into the galaxy at the rate of two to three solar masses per year, most of which may be accreted onto the core region.[41] The extended stellar envelope of this galaxy reaches a radius of about 150 kiloparsecs (490 thousand light-years),[42][43] compared to about 100 kiloparsecs (330 thousand light-years) for the Milky Way.[44] Beyond that distance the outer edge of the galaxy has been truncated by some means; possibly by an earlier encounter with another galaxy.[42][43] There is some evidence of linear streams of stars to the northwest of the galaxy, which may have been created by tidal stripping of orbiting galaxies, or by small satellite galaxies falling in toward M87.[45] as well as a filament of hot, ionized gas in the northeastern outer part of this galaxy that has been proposed to be the remnant of a small, gas-rich galaxy that was disrupted by M87 and that could be feeding its active nucleus.[46]

This galaxy is one of the most massive in the local Universe.[35] This galaxy spans a diameter of 120,000 light years, about the same as the Milky Way. But M87 is a spheroid, not a flat spiral. So it contains close to 2.7 trillion solar masses by some estimates.[37] The mass of M87 within a radius of 9–40 kiloparsecs (29–130 thousand light-years) from the core steadily increases roughly in proportion to r1.7, where r is the radius from the core.[34] Within a radius of 32 kiloparsecs (100 thousand light-years), the mass is (2.4 ± 0.6) × 1012 times the mass of the Sun,[33] which is double the mass of the Milky Way galaxy.[38] Only a fraction of this mass is in the form of stars, as M87 has an estimated mass to luminosity ratio of 6.3 ± 0.8. That is, about one part in six of the galaxy's mass is in the form of stars that are radiating energy.[39] The total mass of M87 may be 200 times that of the Milky Way.[40]

Enclosed mass
×1012 M
2.4[33] 32
3.0[34] 44
5.7[35] 47
6.0[36] 50

The distance to M87 has been estimated using several independent techniques. These include measuring the luminosity of planetary nebulae, comparison with nearby galaxies whose distance has been estimated using standard candles such as cepheid variables, the linear size distribution of globular clusters,[1] and the tip of the red giant branch method using individually resolved red giant stars,[2] These measurements are consistent with each other, and their weighted average yields a distance estimate of 16.4 ± 0.5 megaparsecs (53.5 ± 1.63 million light-years).[4]