Messier 87 (HaLRGB)

M87 was in the news back in those hazy pre-pandemic days because a team of incredibly talented people succeeded in getting an image of the the shadow of the event horizon of the black hole at the center of the galaxy.

My goal was somewhat more modest, I wanted to get the relativistic jet that shoots out the galaxy from the accretion disk surrounding the black hole. And, success! It’s there though not especially awe inspiring in this image. You can see it as a bright spot at about 7:00 near the center of the galaxy. It actually extends well out of the galaxy but too faintly to see here.

And while elliptical galaxies are not especially photogenic, resembling nothing more than fuzzy blob, they are awe inspiring to contemplate! M87 has several trillion stars compared to the 100 billion or so in our galaxy. It’s central black hole has a mass several billion times that of our sun. And that black hole is growing…that jet is caused by inflating matter (some gets swept up a a giant magnetic field and flung away in the jet before it cal fall in). By comparison (and probably a good thing for us) our central black hole only appears to snack now and then and is generally quiet.

For all the tech details see astrobin.

One Comment Add yours

  1. Ggreybeard says:

    In the past, observational astronomy was often about hunting down difficult objects, not necessarily the most beautiful. I see no reason why astro-photographers should not continue that theme. Amateur astronomy is not only about capturing beautiful nebulae. So well done for capturing M87 and thanks for pointing out the jet – it will inspire me to attempt it myself in a few months.


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