The giant elliptical galaxy M87 resides near the center of the vast Virgo cluster, a collection of more than 1,000 galaxies located some 50 to 55 million light-years from Earth. The bright X-ray emission coming from M87 shows it to be the cluster’s dominant member. The galaxy also harbors a central black hole with a mass roughly 6 billion times that of the Sun. As the black hole draws in surrounding material, magnetic fields channel some of it into a jet that extends about 5,000 light-years.
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